Center for Justice

Spokane, WA   |  www.cforjustice.org

Mission

The Center for Justice empowers people and communities of the Inland Northwest through direct legal services, advocacy, and impact litigation.

Ruling year info

1999

Executive Director

Mr. Dainen Penta

Main address

35 West Main Avenue Suite 300

Spokane, WA 99201 USA

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EIN

91-1939768

NTEE code info

Public Interest Law/Litigation (I83)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

Environmental Quality, Protection, and Beautification N.E.C. (C99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Housing Justice

Along with food, water, and clothing, shelter is a basic human need. At the Center for Justice our housing work is about more than just preventing homelessness – we believe that everyone should have access to a safe, healthy, affordable home. The Center for Justice holds almost daily Rental Rights clinics to provide brief advice and assistance to tenants. Attorneys and advocates work with clients to avoid eviction and to address problems with housing discrimination, address unsafe/unhealthy housing conditions, obtain or retain public housing benefits, and general landlord-tenant issues. Also, based on information we get from our clients and those that serve them, the Center for Justice works locally and statewide to advocate for law and policy intended to increase the availability of safe, healthy, affordable housing, and to respects the basic human rights of those experiencing homelessness.

Population(s) Served

The Center provides direct representation of the formerly incarcerated in court. Through a staff attorney, the Center provides legal services to help clients to re-enter society, including resolving contested matters through litigation. This legal work focuses on vacating, expunging, and sealing criminal records, reducing or eliminating court-ordered restitution (LFOs), protection of constitutional rights, and related matters. The Center also advocates for criminal justice reform through its Smart Justice program, which works for improvements to our criminal justice system, educating and informing government and community stakeholders on evidence-based alternatives to incarceration and advocating for needed changes to laws and policy. CFJ is a member of the Smart Justice Spokane coalition. Evidence based alternatives include measures such as electronic home monitoring, diversion programs such as therapeutic courts, and other measures that reduce recidivism rates, deter crime, and that are cost effective. The Center participates in the local Criminal Justice Commission and in other stakeholder groups, focused on development and implementation of criminal justice reform. The Center’s Smart Justice work is conducted in collaboration with other local service providers, faith-based community groups, and other justice advocates. This work is primarily conducted by one staff attorney and by Center volunteers.

Population(s) Served

The Center for Justice untangles complex relicensing cases. The Center’s relicensing program specifically handles those relicensing cases that the City of Spokane Prosecutor’s office does not handle. The Center’s full time Relicensing Director is supported by interns and by Center staff. The Director assists approximately 400 clients each year with getting their license back, helping them address past infractions by working with courts around the state to put unpaid tickets on a payment plan so that clients can drive legally. A driver’s license helps clients to obtain employment and stabilize their lives. The Relicensing Director also advocates for the decriminalization of regulatory licensing infractions, educating and informing legislators, government officials, and other stakeholders about conditions that may have an adverse impact on clients’ ability to address past infractions, including poverty, mental health, and more. The Center’s Relicensing Director also develops and teaches regular money management courses to relicensing clients, including unique Women’s Relicensing programs held several times a year focused on the unique needs of women, especially single mothers, women of color, and survivors of domestic violence. The Women’s Relicensing class is a safe space for these women, who receive a bag of groceries in order to address food insecurity they are experiencing.

Population(s) Served

The Spokane Riverkeeper is an environmental guardian and advocate with the goal of protecting the Spokane River and its watershed and ensuring it is fishable and swimmable. Riverkeeper utilizes science, law, and policy to educate, inform, and influence government, policymakers, and the community. Daily water monitoring by Riverkeeper provides credible data to policymakers, stakeholders, and other environmental NGOs. Strategic litigation is utilized to hold polluters accountable under federal, state, and local laws, including Clean Water Act lawsuits. Riverkeeper’s partnerships with the City of Spokane and Spokane Community Court have resulted in the removal of approximately 1,500 pounds of garbage from and around the Spokane River each year. Other key Riverkeeper activity includes conducting outreach to homeless encampments and engaging in environmental conservation education with a local indigenous group. Riverkeeper employs approximately 2-3 full time staff, which number fluctuates depending on grant funding.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Financials

Center for Justice
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Center for Justice

Board of directors
as of 7/16/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Paul Dillon

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? No
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes