Tag Archives: Youth Incarceration

PONGO POETRY: All True Story, No Lies

Pongo Poetry Project’s mission is to engage youth in writing poetry to inspire healing and growth. For over 20 years, Pongo has mentored poetry with youth at the Children & Family Justice Center (CFJC), King County’s juvenile detention facility. Many CFJC residents are youth of color who have endured traumatic experiences in the form of abuse, neglect, and exposure to violence. These incidents have been caused and exacerbated by community disinvestment, systemic racism, and other forms of institutional oppression. In collaboration with CFJC staff, Pongo poetry writing offers CFJC youth a vehicle for self-discovery and creative expression that inspires recovery and healing. Through this special monthly column in partnership with the South Seattle Emerald, Pongo invites readers to bear witness to the pain, resilience, and creative capacity of youth whose voices and perspectives are too often relegated to the periphery. For an opportunity to learn Pongo’s trauma-informed techniques for facilitating personal, healing poetry in your classroom, therapeutic practice, or community space, join their training on May 22.


ALL TRUE STORY, NO LIES

by a young person, age 16

Group homes and detention had me institutionalized 
so my behaviors are the reasons of me being traumatized 
The way I act towards people 
and 
the way I take situations 
The way I believe a lot of stuff is lies 
It’s hard to trust 
in my relationships with people
Me not having trust and not wanting to get hurt
has me break trust first
so I don’t get hurt first 
Ends up making the situation worse

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Legislation Looks To Change Youth Sentencing, Offer Retroactive Relief

by Bunthay Cheam


A collection of proposed legislation working its way through the Washington State Legislature could substantially change sentencing of young offenders, as well as revise sentences for those currently incarcerated.

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‘The Shadow Beside Me’: Seattle Nonprofit Debuts Poetry From King County Juvenile Detention

by Mark Van Streefkerk 


“You see that I am always getting in trouble

Trouble follows me

like a shadow right behind me, always

You see that I am always in fights

Always rebel fights, arguments

But you don’t know me. I’m not that type of person

I’m really caring, giving

Always trying to help people”

Those are the opening lines to “Josiah,” a poem by 16-year-old Damian, a youth incarcerated at Seattle’s Children and Family Justice Center (CFJC), formerly King County Juvenile Detention. “Josiah” appears in The Shadow Beside Me, a new anthology of poems from youth at CFJC, published by the Pongo Poetry Project. In the poem, Damian writes about how life changed when his friend Josiah was shot and killed. “Josiah was the only person we knew who had graduated / had a job, and had something going for him / When he left, it broke me.” 

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Q&A: With Plans for the New Youth Jail to Be Built in 2019, Protesters Continue to Fight Against It

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