Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $900,000)
The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s (PGST) Court Services Department is applying for the FY21 CTAS BJA TJSP grant to improve access to and efficacy of the Tribal Court system, and to enhance our existing Reentry Program services. The COVID pandemic made apparent the limitations of our existing system and the absolute necessity of improving our court system’s technological infrastructure. To provide services remotely and with social distancing, we must improve internal infrastructure, but must also find ways to ensure improved access to those whom we serve.
The target service population includes justice-involved individuals and their families who live in Reservation homes, in areas adjacent to the Reservation, as well as some with social connections to the Reservation who committed infractions while on the Reservation, or who are utilizing the Tribe’s Reentry Program because of their relations within the Tribe. The improved services will allow us to better serve those involved in the justice system, those leaving incarceration and returning to the community, and their family members who rely on the Court Services Department to help them restore their families.
Our soon-to-open transitional housing, provided by a DOJ CTAS PA-4 grant, will also help by allowing us to bring home those who are seeking to reenter the community and needing our Reentry Program services, restorative justice practices, culture-based support services, and connection with community to help them succeed in this endeavor.
Tribal members and families have experienced significant life changes, social isolation, and strain on relationships that are critical to their personal and cultural well-being during the pandemic. This is even more pronounced for those working to also navigate criminal charges or to reintegrate justice-involved family members into the home or family. Stay-at-home orders in 2020 resulted in months of full shutdown and significant alterations to Court and Reentry services. Virtual Zoom has proven immensely challenging in our community with limited internet access and inadequate devices to meet and appear remotely. PGST Courts Services wants to improve infrastructure, so that we can ensure access to the justice system and the services needed to support those engaged in the reentry process. Justice-involved individuals and their families are faced with many challenges and the frustration of being unable to appear when required or unable to receive required support services further exacerbates their already difficult road to recovery and reintegration.
PGST’s Court Services Department has received prior funding that allowed us to develop an innovative, highly-
respected, culturally-informed and supportive reentry program that is seen as a model by many other jurisdictions. While
the COVID pandemic posed challenges, we are committed to implementing the solutions that we have identified to
address the COVID-related barriers, as well as improving our court system’s efficacy as a whole. We are also devoted to
ensuring the ongoing success of our Reentry Program. In a Tribe of 1,340 individuals, we need to bring each member
home and back to the Tribe. Connection and support are crucial in our community.