by Elizabeth Turnbull
Local groups, activists, and some state senators have been pushing against state laws that send youth through adult courts and are calling for systemic change and protections for some of the youngest people in the criminal justice system.
At a virtual panel held Tuesday, March 30, panelists, ranging from activist and attorney Nikkita Oliver, who is currently running for City Council Position 9, Seattle attorney Nick Allen, State Senator Jeannie Darneille, and survivors of the criminal justice system in their youth, specifically addressed a practice known as “automatic decline” or “auto decline.”
Continue reading Activists Demand Repeal of Laws Requiring Youth Be Tried as Adults in Certain Cases
by Paul Kiefer
(This article was originally published on PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
At the end of a Thursday in early March, 28 teenagers sat in the King County Juvenile Detention Center on Alder Street in Seattle’s Central District. One had arrived in the facility earlier that day; another had spent nearly 640 days in detention for a first-degree rape charge.
The Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center, which opened quietly in February 2020, replaced the county’s aging Youth Services Center. The new justice center has 156 beds, and King County Executive Dow Constantine has said the County doesn’t intend to fill them all. Last July, Constantine made a commitment to guide the County toward an end to youth detention by 2025, promising to transition the new detention center to “other uses” and “[shift] public dollars away from systems that are rooted in oppression and into those that maintain public health and safety, and help people on a path to success.”
Continue reading What’s Next in King County’s Path to Ending Youth Detention?
by Senait Brown
After King County Executive Dow Constantine committed King County to converting all youth detention units at the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center to new uses, effectively ending youth detention in the jurisdiction, Senait Brown — a long time No New Youth Jail organizer — penned a letter to her son Malcom about the magnitude of this development.
To My Son (Baby Brutha) Malcolm,
One day you will look back and find the footprints your mother has left behind, and when you look back, I hope you will see the revolutionary fire that sparked my audacity to become a Black mama and bring you into this world.
Continue reading OPINION: Birth and Rebirth in the Time of No New Youth Jail
by Alex Garland
In these unprecedented times, change that once seemed improbable now appears inevitable to many in Seattle’s activist community who have spent years fighting for systemic and structural transformation. As protests and an expanding awareness of racial injustices endure across the nation, several of them find themselves hopeful of finally leaving behind a status quo that dehumanized and marginalized communities of color, LGBTQIA+ folx, and people with disabilities, to name but a few.
Continue reading Rest, Healing, Celebration, Accountability — Repeat: Persistent Resistance
by Elizabeth Turnbull
King County Executive Dow Constantine released a tweet on Tuesday, July 21, committing King County to converting all remaining youth detention units at the Judge Patricia H. Clark Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC) to new uses by 2025 and to closing the Seattle jail. Activists welcomed the news but called for immediate changes.
“Phasing out centralized youth detention is no longer a goal in the far distance,” Constantine wrote in a tweet pertaining to the announcement. “We have made extraordinary progress and we have evolved to believe that even more can be done.” Continue reading King County Unveils Plans to Shut Down CFJC Youth Detention Center and Seattle Jail by 2025, Activists Demand Closure Now
by Sharon H. Chang
At precisely noon last Thursday, under quiet blue skies, a line of cars pulled up to the Washington Corrections Center for Women in Purdy and jolted the day awake. “Free them all! Free them all!” yelled protestors, honking their horns while maintaining a safe distance from each other. Bewildered guards stood by the prison parking lot as protestors shouted through a bullhorn, held protest signs out of car windows, and even blew a trumpet. Simultaneously, protests were also taking place in Olympia, outside the Governor’s mansion, and outside the Monroe Correctional Complex.
Continue reading We’ll Never Flatten the Curve If People Are Behind Bars
photos by Naomi Ishisaka, report by Emerald Staff
Standing under a banner that read “Love the youth, hate the jail,” activists called for continued resistance to King County’s existing youth criminal justice strategies, including the construction of a new youth jail at 12th Avenue and Alder Street.
Continue reading PHOTOS: Valentine’s Day Rally Loves the Youth and Hates the Jail
by the Seattle Peoples Party
This past year has been a very difficult one. With global fascism on the rise, the war has continued to escalate against people of color, women, trans and gender non-conforming folks, disabled people, and anyone who is economically disadvantaged. Here in Seattle, the housing catastrophe has intensified, with over 12,000 people living houseless at any given time.
Continue reading OPINION: We Need Better Options
As Hurricane Florence smacks the Carolinas and mandatory evacuations go into effect, one group of people was not evacuated. Despite the flooding and winds speeding at 100 miles per hour, South Carolina prisoners remained in harm’s way. Prisoners at Ridgeland, MacDougall, and Lieber Correctional Institutions have been left behind, and, not surprising, this is not an isolated incident. In fact it’s a common procedure across the prison system. What makes it more insidious is that, when disasters happen, imprisoned bodies are locked in cells, meaning if something starts to go wrong there is nothing anyone can do to get to safety and protect their life.
Continue reading Locked Behind Flood Gates
by Leija Farr
Despite overwhelming backlash from anti-youth jail protesters, King County continues to push forward with the construction of a youth facility in the Central District. The new King County Juvenile Detention Center is a $210 million project set to open in 2019. This project has been a hot-button issue around politics in Seattle for many years.
Continue reading Q&A: With Plans for the New Youth Jail to Be Built in 2019, Protesters Continue to Fight Against It