System Failure Part 2 Declines, Delays, and Dismissals

In February 2019, the Alliance for Pioneer Square and other neighborhood business districts in the Chinatown/International District, SODO, Downtown, Ballard, the University District and Seattle’s tourism industry commissioned the System Failure report that demonstrated how a substantial portion of high-impact criminal activity in Seattle’s busiest neighborhoods is committed by repeat offenders. The report focused on an initial sampling of 100 prolific offenders and how the current criminal justice system had failed to meaningfully respond to or change their behaviors.

On October 1, a follow up to the System Failure has been released. System Failure, Part 2: Declines, Delays, and Dismissals examines new data from city agencies showing that most nontraffic criminal cases that Seattle Police send to the City Attorney’s Office never result in a meaningful resolution because of case declines, case filing delays and a high rate of dismissal. The report discusses how the poor performance of Seattle’s criminal justice system results in under-reporting of crime from chronic victims, poor police morale, and helps perpetuate crime and incarceration cycles for vulnerable individuals.

System Failure, Part 2: Declines, Delays, and Dismissals is a continuation of our efforts to better understand and shed light on the failures within out criminal justice system. The report fines that less than one out of three cases find a meaningful resolution and that system inefficiencies and discord have rippling effects that impact victims, the police and repeat offenders. Only with a thorough understanding of these system breakdowns can we accomplish the reforms and accountability we need to address the public safety issues impacting our business districts and neighborhood.