UPDATE: Slog tipper Sean writes, "The 500 block of 3rd Ave. is currently blocked by protesters lying down. SPD are standing by, pretty relaxed. The sign says 'destroy all prisons.' Unclear if anyone here will be visiting one soon, although that looks like what they're pushing for."
Original post at 11:48 PM:
A group loosely associated with Occupy Seattle will bang pots and pans outside a decrepit juvenile justice center in the Central District before embarking on an unpermitted march downtown early this afternoon to try shutting down traffic outside the King County Courthouse.
Spokesman Duff Badgley says they want voters to reject Prop 1 on the August 7 ballot that seeks funding for a new youth corrections facility. "It is a failure to build a new quarter-billion-dollar jail to rip off the taxpayers," he says. "It goes from bad to worse, because it perpetuates the system that funnels youth into jail." Juvenile offenders are disproportionately nonwhite, he continues. The protesters will hold a "noise demonstration" with pots, pans, and drums to show solidarity with the inmates.
If approved, the ballot measure would raise $208 million in property taxes over nine years, finally replacing a toxic, dilapidated youth courthouse and outdated jail with a new courthouse and detention center that actually has fewer beds than the existing one. (The old center has 210 beds, but thanks to a slew of contemporary diversion programs, treatment programs, and innovative pilots to keep kids out of jail, the new facility only needs to have about 154 beds.)
Still, that downsizing is not enough, Badgly says.
His group wants "abolition" of all jails and prisons. Asked how he envisions a corrections system operating without a single bed for detention—even for the most seriously violent offenders—he says that "we don't claim to have a 1-through-12 list of alternatives." But he suggests appropriating the $208 million in King County's Prop 1 for other programs that discourage offending and recidivism.
After leaving the jail, they will proceed to the housing project Yesler Terrace a few blocks west (which will be replaced soon for a new development project) before heading down to the King County Courthouse on 3rd Avenue and James Street. "We are going to hold a press conference in the street," Bagdly says. "We are going to be taking the streets the whole time. No, we don't do permits. The cops know about this—we are going after the biggest government seat north of San Francisco."