Criminal Justice

After years of drug addiction, Jayne Fuentes feels she's close to getting her life back on track, as long as she doesn't get arrested again — but not for using drugs. She fears it will be because she still owes court fines and fees, including hundreds of dollars for her public defender.

Fuentes hopes to change that. She's one of three plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed this week by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, charging that Benton County, Wash., where she lives, "operates a modern-day debtors' prison."

United States Court District of Idaho

The national organization that brought the case against the City of Boise over its homeless laws is considering its next move. This week, a U.S. District judge dismissed the 2009 case on the grounds that the plaintiffs don’t have standing to bring the lawsuit against the city.

Governor Kate Brown announced Friday that she’s forming a workgroup to look into the Oregon State Police Crime lab. That’s alongside investigations by Oregon’s Department of Justice and the Deschutes County District Attorney, which are looking at a state employee’s mishandling of crime evidence.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Brian Phillips spent 71 days in solitary confinement this summer. He was locked up in the Thurston County Jail near Olympia, Washington, after he went off his psychiatric medication and had several run-ins with police.

A federal judge in Seattle has made it clear to the state that mentally ill jail inmates need to be evaluated within seven days to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

The Washington state Department of Corrections recently signed a contract with the GEO Group to send up to 1000 inmates to Michigan.

Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

Starting in July, adults in Oregon can legally use recreational marijuana. But thousands of Oregonians will still have criminal records for marijuana offenses that would have been legal under the new law. Now, there are efforts in the Oregon legislature to let some people wipe the slate clean when it comes to pot convictions. Chris Lehman spoke to some who are involved.

Mentally ill inmates in Washington state often must wait weeks, or even months in jail for evaluations to see if they’re competent to stand trial.

Whitman County Sheriff's Office

Police still have not determined a motive for the shootings in Moscow Saturday that left three dead and one injured. One reason motives remain unclear is that Moscow police have not been able to question suspected shooter John Lee. Why? Lee is in custody… just not in Moscow.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The work of rearing threatened plants and animals for restoration to the wild takes time and patience and it is labor intensive. In Oregon and Washington, a growing population doing that work is inmates.