Tag Archives: Criminal Justice System

OPINION | South King County Mayors Believe Increased Incarceration Is the Path to Public Safety — They’re Wrong.

by Gennette Cordova


Earlier this month, eight mayors in South King County issued an open letter to their King County and Washington State criminal justice partners expressing frustration with crime in their cities. Rather than emphasizing the importance of nurturing and stabilizing their communities through non-carceral alternatives, they leaned into the same punitive solutions that have proven to be ineffective in increasing public safety.

Continue reading OPINION | South King County Mayors Believe Increased Incarceration Is the Path to Public Safety — They’re Wrong.

OPINION | Yes, Mercy Can Coexist With Accountability in Our Justice System

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This article is copublished with The Seattle Times.)


I still recall the humanity in William Tolliver even as he’ll soon stand trial accused of the inhumane.

Tolliver, along with Marquise Tolbert, is charged with first-degree murder in a January 2020 downtown Seattle shooting that left Tanya Jackson dead and six others wounded. Some are still healing from the gunshot wounds suffered that day. 

Tolbert’s trial is underway. Tolliver’s will follow shortly after. 

Continue reading OPINION | Yes, Mercy Can Coexist With Accountability in Our Justice System

Beloved: Reducing Gun Violence, Restoring Hope

by DeVitta Briscoe

Everyone lost to gun violence is someone’s beloved.  Beloved is a multi-media campaign exploring gun violence in-depth in four phases: The Problem of gun violence as a symptom of illness (or infection) caused by systemic inequality; The History of gun violence, root causes, and local and national data trends. The Solutions to end gun violence including King County Public Health’s regional approach to gun violence prevention and treatments; and finally, the ideation of a world without gun violence, The Beloved Community. The Beloved project is brought to you in partnership with Seattle Office of Arts & Culture Hope Corps program, King County’s Public Health team, Converge Media, Black Coffee Northwest, Toybox Consulting, Creative Justice, The Facts Newspaper, Forever Safe Spaces, Northwest African American Museum, Presidential Media, and the South Seattle Emerald.


I have more experience at the complex intersections of gun violence and the criminal justice system than most. Both my twin brother and I were shot and involved in the criminal legal system before age 21. My son was killed by a neighborhood friend. I have been the victim of interpersonal violence. And finally, the moment that jolted my family into action, and my life into activism: police killed my brother Che’ Taylor

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OPINION: Jury Duty Is Not the Solution to Trials Like Kyle Rittenhouse’s

by Megan Burbank


In response to outrage over Kyle Rittenhouse’s acquittal earlier this month, President Biden was among many voices insisting that “[t]he jury system works, and we have to abide by it.” The day of Rittenhouse’s acquittal, Twitter was flooded with posts urging people upset by the verdict to embrace jury duty as a solution.

I understand where this sentiment comes from. I also used to think the jury system worked — that taking on your civic duty with systemic inequity in mind could help mitigate injustice.

Until I actually served on a jury.

Continue reading OPINION: Jury Duty Is Not the Solution to Trials Like Kyle Rittenhouse’s

OPINION: Courthouse Assault a Symptom of Failing Systems, Not Individuals

by Erica C. Barnett 


Last week, a 35-year-old man who had been released from jail less than one week earlier attacked a county employee in a women’s restroom at the King County Courthouse in downtown Seattle. The assailant, a Level 1 sex offender with a history of attacking women, told detectives he had smoked “homemade meth” immediately before the attack. A police report filed after the incident indicates the attacker, who is a person experiencing homelessness, may suffer from mental illness.

The particulars of this case might lead a reasonable person to conclude that people who commit sex offenses need closer monitoring once they’re released from custody, along with access to housing and mental health care to prevent them from reoffending once they’re released.

Instead, the assault became a symbol for conservative officials, who suggested “solutions” that included sweeping dozens of homeless people from a nearby encampment and directing women to change the way they behave in public. 

Continue reading OPINION: Courthouse Assault a Symptom of Failing Systems, Not Individuals

OPINION: Why Can’t Justice Punish and Heal at the Same Time?

by Marcus Harrison Green

(This column is co-published with The Seattle Times) 

Yonas Seifu and Devon Adams have desperately sought wholesale healing from a justice system capable of supplying them only scraps. 

In 2006, Seifu nearly died after a bullet randomly struck him in the head while he sat on the couch at a Lake City house party hosted by University of Washington fraternity brothers. 

Continue reading OPINION: Why Can’t Justice Punish and Heal at the Same Time?