February 2014

Author:
Nick Allen, CLS Attorney

We frequently hear from people across Washington State who are trying to successfully transition back into society after serving their time in prison, but face many significant barriers. One of the most difficult to overcome is the burden of Legal Financial Obligations (LFOs) – the fees, fines, and costs imposed by the state's courts on top of criminal sentences, averaging $2,450 per person in our state.

While some of these costs may not seem like large amounts, in many cases these costs set up poor people for failure instead of promoting rehabilitation. Even though... More

Author:
Aurora Martin, CLS Executive Director

Early this morning, I had a chance to listen and learn again from a few visiting community leaders from other countries, who were participating in a leadership program iLeap.  A few weeks ago, some of you may remember that CLS had a brief opportunity to host three women who were iLeap Leadership Fellows: Mary Magdalene Yuin Tal of South Africa, Dorotea Gomez of Guatemala, and Georginia Hernandez of El Salvador.  Since that time, I have had a chance to get to know each of them more, and to listen to their desire to tell their stories.  Mary Magdalene in particular, shared her experience of... More

Author:
Aurora Martin, CLS Executive Director

Columbia Legal Services joins others across the nation to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today. It has been 50 years since Dr. King’s inspiring “I have a Dream” speech and 50 years since the “War on Poverty” was also declared by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The 50 year anniversaries of such twin historical events challenges us to not only hold on to the dreams of justice Dr. King spoke of, but it must also awaken and stir us into action.

Perhaps it is just as well, that before I end the day, I take a moment to say that I firmly believe Columbia Legal Services’ work for... More