This week's meeting featured our Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney, Jon TunHeim, who spoke to us about criminal justice reform measures being implemented in Thurston County.
 
 
Rotary Club of Olympia
The Wheel
 
Meeting called to order by:  President Jack Belmont 
 
Invocation by:  Dirk Farrar 
 
Pledge of Allegiance led by:  Fred Adair
 
Song:  Nancy Zussy & Gloria Strait, America the Beautiful
 
Four Way Test led by:  Jay Burney
 
Visiting Rotarians:   Gary Hursch, Rotary Club of Tucson
                                 Jon Tunheim, West Olympia Rotary
                                 John Skinner, West Olympia Rotary
 
Guests of Rotarians
David Elliot
Lee Ruddy
Don Passau
 
Happy Bucks:--a few highlights
  
 
 
  
Rosemary Barnhart gave $75 birthday dollars
 
Brad Hooper shared that his daughter at Baylor University recently tried out and made choir for the school. 
 
Sean Murphy paid his birthday dollars and celebrated a recent award for his work with veterans
 
Trent Hart announced that he is asking for volunteers to ring the bell for the Salvation Army on 12/19.  There are currently many time slots available so please contact Brad.
 
Fred Adair shared that he was on jury duty last week and recognized some familiar faces in photos on the walls of the courthouse.
 
Diane Gallegos gave both birthday and anniversary bucks and shared that a new coffee table book about Wolf Haven has been published with a copy donated to Rotary for our literacy program.
 
 
Announcements and Misc.
Denny Peterson shared the sad news that Per Skoog passed away last week.  Per had joined the club in the 1960s.  He served the community in many ways including more than 20 years on the Providence St. Peter Community Board and the Humane Society Board.  He is survived by his wife Lila and his two daughters.
 
Bill Lahmann presented the proposed change to the Club bylaws that had been announced previously.  The change will require each member on leave to pay full club, Rotary International and Rotary District 5020 dues while on leave unless granted an exemption by the board.  A motion was made, seconded and the voice vote to adopt the bylaws amendment was approved unanimously.
 
Steve Bean auctioned off maple smoked salmon to Colleen Gillespie for a generous $55.
 
Caroline Manager shared a story about an ugly taxi driver and an attractive prostitute. 
 
Zale Crawford was recognized by President Jack for bringing a new member into the Club.
 
Kim Dinsmore thanked all who supported the Cool Jazz, Clean Water activities over the weekend.  More than 200 people attended the wine tasting.
 
Rosemary Barnhart announced that Youth Exchange host homes are needed in the Olympia HS catchment area, for 3-month stints.  Contact Rosemary for more information.
 
Program
 
Gary Alexander introduced speaker Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney Jon Tunheim:
 
Jon Tunheim received his undergraduate degree in physics from South Dakota State University, and his law degree from the University of Puget Sound School of Law (now Seattle University School of Law). While in law school, he joined the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office as a legal intern. After graduating from law school, Tunheim became a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Thurston County in 1990 and served the office most recently as Chief Deputy since 2003. During his career, Tunheim has personally prosecuted cases involving charges ranging from drug possession to murder, specializing in the prosecution of sexual assault, domestic violence and crimes against children. As a Deputy Prosecutor, he was a leader in the effort to form Monarch Children’s Justice and Advocacy Center, an organization which provides coordinated services to child victims of abuse and neglect.
 
       Tunheim is an active member of the legal community. Having served as a member of the Government Lawyers Bar Association since 2006, and as its president from 2007–2009. He led the formation of the Association of Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys and was its first president from 2000–2001. He has also served on the SPSCC Paralegal Advisory Board since 2007, and currently serves as its president.
 
       In addition, Tunheim actively supports local charitable efforts. He served on the board of Child Care Action Council, and was its president from 2007-2010. He serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Washington, and was its president from 2006–2008. He also serves on the board of the Family Support Center of South Sound and is an active member of the West Olympia Rotary Club.
 
       Tunheim was named a “21st Century Leader” by The Olympian.  He was also presented with the “Champions for Kids” award from Together, in 2008, the Thurston Community Network’s “Making a Difference in the Life of a Child” award in 2009, and most recently the “Local Hero Award” from the Washington State Bar Association. Jon and his wife Marcia have four active sons.
 
 
Program:
 
Mr. Tunheim described current initiatives underway to help lessen the prisoner population while increasing or at least maintaining public safety.  These initiatives are being called criminal justice reform or innovative justice program.
 
He shared that while we have a much needed new jail in Olympia, it is already full.  The question facing the community is, “How do we save money while reducing prison crowding, and maintaining or improving public safety?”  He said there are several groups working to answer that important question and reviewing evidence-based practices as models to bring to Thurston County.
 
He said that the United States is one of the highest (second to Russia) in incarceration per capita and that Washington State is the highest per capita in the nation for property crimes committed on a per capita basis.
 
Jon believes that the focus must move up from punishment to addressing the root causes of mental illness, drug addiction and lack of education.
 
He said that moral accountability through punishment needs to continue, but putting people in jail and expecting them to learn their lessons has proven ineffective in reducing crime recidivism.  While we are increasing the number of prisoners taking this approach, we are not seeing an increase in public safety.
 
There are many factors that impact recidivism rates much more substantially including:

Adverse Childhood Experiences
Education
Substance Abuse
Untreated Mental Illness
 
Jon said that work is underway to address these root cause issues in our community including the new mental health triage center, the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) program in Seattle and LEAN process improvement.
 
The key, he said, is to deal with the issues facing each individual so that the root causes can be addressed strategically.
 
Finally, he said that there is work underway to establish coordinated co-located re-entry services for released convicts to effectively and efficiently reduce recidivism rates in Thurston Country.
 
Next week :
Meeting at Indian Summer, topic is transportation
 
Mr. Snappy:  won by Preston Troy
 
Meeting adjourned at 1:29pm by President Jack Belmont