Youth Justice Campaigners Turn Boring Land Use Hearing Into a Fight Against Institutional Racism

Comments

1
But without locked up black youth in prisons, who will provide the cheap tax subsidized labor for the white owned prison industries?
2
One of the few things that brings me great comfort these days is the occasional reminder that there are still some deeply decent and non-self-absorbed people in the world.
3
i'm confused. what do the opponents want? no jail? the state law requires one, right?

the testimony quoted seems more opposed to the concept of a juvenile justice system than this specific proposal.
4
Are Black youth committing crimes or not? If they are, a detention center is needed. If White youth are committing crimes, they too must be treated the same and be put into the same center. Again, a detention center is needed. if White youth are treated differently from Black youth, I don't see how not having a center solves that mis-treatment situation.
5
Sorry to nitpick, but there is a typo about my neighborhood. Do you mean St. John United Lutheran Church or Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church? Both are located on Phinney Ridge, there is no Finney Ridge in Seattle. The area is named because it was bought from Guy C. Phinney by City (according to Wikipedia, although as a child I was told it was his farm he donated it) it became the Woodland Park Zoo and Woodland Park.
6
@4 The problem is that city councils or really any legislative body don't really hold public meetings to get at core or fundamental causes of societal ills. They tend to look at symptoms and solve those symptoms with legislation. Legislation around solving problems tends towards the end of patch jobs because a narrow focus allows legislation to pass. The point of democracy is so that significant change can't happen quickly. The advantage is that our society can't be turned upside down overnight. The disadvantage is that fundamental societal problems can't really ever be addressed because you'd be talking about changing our way of life.

All those people showed up to address the more fundamental problem of the poverty-crime loop because building a jail only addresses the symptoms not the root causes. They took the opportunity to start a discussion on the real issues at hand.
7
Before she was "elected" Mayor of Bellevue (the council members of that august burg select one of their own) Claudia Balducci was director of the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention (a nice gig that payed 150k/yr plus excellent pension, health care, etc). During her 15 years at DAJD (4 as Director) did Mayor Balducci ever do anything to address the "terrible problem with disparity?" A quick web search says no. Oh well, maybe she was too busy advocating for light rail and shutting down local businesses that didnt' conform to her version of morality.
9
All that excitement and boldface and agit-prop and you couldn't even state why the project is considered necessary? There's really no counter-argument?

This whole piece reads like a Social Justice Mad Lib.
10
@8: You really believe the Director of the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention was not in a position to effect or at least advocate for change? Reread that title--the person holding that position is no "mere county official."
12
@9 - Everything junior "reporter" Ansel Herz writes reads like a social justice Mad Lib.
13
@11 - Possible. But even if we went with "likely" (a more dubious prospect; our reactionary drug laws alone would suggest that some plurality of those juveniles are in for non-violent and possibly even nigh-victimless misbehavior), we have to ask whether incarceration does much (or anything) to "change the larger social and economic circumstances that lead them into crime in the first place".

15
@10: The jail director runs the jail. Period. Judges and prosecutors make the decisions about who goes in or out of the jail.
16
@3 I had to read it twice to figure it out, but I think the idea is that opponents want to use approval of the project (I hope everyone agrees that some juvenile offenders have to be detained) as leverage to get reform of the larger system.

That would be less batshit crazy then saying that violent youth offenders should walk free, so it's probably what most of them want.
17
@14 - Fair enough. Having addressed the parenthetical aside, have you any thoughts or observations on the matter of whether locking minors up has any effect on the root causes of crime?
18
@16, you'd think so, but no. Some (most?) of the opponents at Thursday's meeting not only want the county to stop building a new facility, they also want the county to knock down the old one.

From their own FAQ at http://nonewyouthjail.wordpress.com: "Washington Incarceration Stops Here believes that King County should shut down the existing facilities and stop using jailing of youth as one of its methods of addressing youth, family and school issues."
19
@18 My initial reaction was to react very negatively, but I've learned it's best to give MOST people a little credit. No doubt there are anarchist nutjobs in the crowd, but it's best to deal with the concerns of some of the decent people that Ansel quotes here.

I'm certainly open to alternatives to traditional jail if it meets the basic test of keeping people safe. If these groups succeed in using this fight to achieve a more just arrangement more power to them. But we ought to replace the current facility with something better, which is what the land use hearing is ostensibly about.