Guest Editorial: We Believe Seattle Doesn't Need a Juvenile Detention Center at All

Comments

1
This article seems to directly imply that no youth offenders must ever be jailed, up to and including those who commit violent assault:

"For the rare case in which a young person has engaged in a serious act of harm toward another, the proper response is to seek healing and reconciliation, not punishment."

This just in, Slog posts editorial saying rapists and murderers should not go to jail.
2
“This just in, Slog posts editorial saying rapists and murderers should not go to jail.”

Sounds about right. They just need a hug and a $20 bill so they won't harm anyone on the way home.
3
"The inside of Seattle's current juvenile detention center looks something like this."

Because something like journalism.
4
I'm sorry, but this is just anti-government drivel dressed up in corny language (i.e."caging youth"). I'm sympathetic to the plight of young people who get caught up in the judicial system, but to suggest we don't need facilities for juvenile offenders is ridiculous.

I'm all for programs that keep non-violent petty criminals out of jail, but at the end of the day some youth will indeed need to be caged.
5
So what are the particulars of the "healing and reconciliation" plan?
6
A couple questions:

1. When a person under the age of 18 is arrested for murder, rape or aggravated assault, where do the police take them? Adult jail? Alex West's house?

2. What proof does anyone have that the voters of King County who approved this project didn't know what they were voting for?
7
"The youth jail building project contributes to gentrification. As the youth jail becomes more full of black youth, those same young people and their families have been pushed out of the Central District, where the jail is located. The black population of the Central District has gone from 51 percent to 21 percent over the last 20 years."

I don't know what to say to this. Neighborhoods go in cycles. The Central Area history I have read indicates that it was, at different periods, largely Jewish, then very diverse and then largely black. This may be another cycle and attributing the change all to gentrification may not be entirely accurate.
8

"So what are the particulars of the "healing and reconciliation" plan?"

Hugging and mugging. Give the little buggers a hug and then let them out in our city to mug someone nice, rich and white. You know, "reconciliation".
9
""The youth jail building project contributes to gentrification."

Yes, because nothing makes a neighborhood more desirable than a jail.

Has The Stranger simply become a school paper for the Seattle community college ?
10
something something tubaman killers something something social justice
11
Any comment on the current state of the facility? Isn't it pretty rundown right now?
12
For some reason I believe these Seattle community college halfwits probably think "reconciliation" means we have to apologize to these little buggers.
13
@11 that's the reason they're talking about building a new one.
14
"Part of the proposal for the new jail involves the sale of the land on the edges of the facility to private developers—we believe for construction of condos and businesses catering to the growing white population. If this happens as we fear, the incarceration of young people of color will literally be hidden by new businesses and condos catering to a majority white population."

what is your issue with catering?
15
Tomorrow's by the judges should be good.
16
Oh dear lord.

There are teen killers in the world. Black ones, and White ones, etc. There are white teen violent offenders and rapists. There are some disturbingly monstrous bullies that are white.

You can't blame the building because the system is racially biased. Change the system if its at fault.
17
For reasons given above, this piece is idiotic. I would add that the idea that having beds leads to authorities finding a way to fill them is belied by the writer's very next point, that juvenile arrests and residence in juvie has declined while the number of beds has remained static.
18
@16, but how can we get at the root of the problem without first tugging at leaves on some branches within reach?
19
You make some very valid points in criticizing the racial bias in the juvenile justice system, the all-white board discussing a prison for primarily black youth, and building an unnecessarily large facility when youth incarceration is going down.

But you lose all credibility when you claim we don't need a juvenile jail at all. While there are a significant number of youth offenders should not be run through the prison system, there ARE violent youth offenders that DO need to be locked up. You can reduce the number of minority youth locked up, but you can't eliminate the need for a jail entirely. Advocating for no jail at all just makes you sound like a crazy person.

Instead, it would make more sense to advocate for two separate facilities: a smaller juvenile jail for truly violent offenders, and a separate youth services facility that can better help and rehabilitate non-violent youth and their families.
20
Tuba guy is rolling over in his grave
21
I am all for non-incarceration alternatives, but what do you do with the teenager who won't participate in them?

I would add to the list of serious crimes, such as rape, murder, assault, that some have listed as requiring incarceration, the following:

Repeatedly carrying a firearm. Repeatedly stealing cars. Under present state law, a juvenile must be convicted of carrying a firearm 5 times before they face incarceration at a state facility. For auto-theft its 9 times. So for those crimes its apprehend, book, and release. Catch and release if you will. So some kids take from our behavior, that we don't care if they carry guns or steal cars. Note I said, "repeatedly" twice (now a third time).

Thoughts anyone?
22
@17: In certain states, this would be true, but since there is no push for this jail to be privately run, it won't happen here, unless it happens, as they mention, where they allow homeless youth in voluntarily.

Ultimately the problem with this editorial is that the presence or absence of a jail doesn't solve the systemic problems they point to, it simply condemns those trapped in said system into worse conditions.
23
Whatever decent people oppose this plan in the hope of winning a few reforms to the criminal justice system are totally undermined by these easy-to-ridicule, totally deluded activists.

The utopian "healing and reconciliation" alternative to jail for violent offenders has been adequately destroyed in the thread above, and certainly isn't written by people that live in any fear of rape, mugging, or domestic violence.

The wailing about gentrification -- never mind that new units on undeveloped land will reduce rent pressures -- also runs directly to their criticism of incarceration. I can't think of anything that would discourage mass storage of troubled youth in this facility that a group of nearby, well-connected NIMBYs.

You also can't coherently criticize rigid sentencing and racial disparities in the same critique. People are inherently racially biased, and if you allow for any compassion in sentencing that means that white kids are going to get off more lightly. We should of course work toward a more color-blind society, but we have to be mindful of what the policy outcomes are going to be on the way there.
24
Was this article a middle school debate project? Seriously, how naive can one be (well, this seems to be just about the limit, I guess)!?

There are definitely biases in our society, and I'm sure these lead to a bunch of disparities in the justice system, but this is just crazy…I mean, there are truly dangerous youth that need to be incarcerated. I doubt, very much, that truant students are filling up the detention center beds.

And the link to gentrification was trolling extraordinaire.
25
@7,

There are times when neighborhoods clear out of their majority inhabitants because of positive trends, not gentrification. For example, the original German inhabitants of the Lower East Side moved out as they prospered and were able to afford living in nicer neighborhoods. The same thing happened to the later Jewish inhabitants of that neighborhood.

But considering the way the Great Recession has decimated the net worth of black Americans, especially the black middle class, you're on crazy pills if you think black people are clearing out of the Central District for any reason other than gentrification.
26
So, which is roomier, a youth jail cell or a Valdez-promulgated apodment ? I believe the jail cells have sinks in the unit, which sounds better than some apodments.
27
Now that the CD isn't the only place a black person can get a home loan wouldn't have anything to do with the change in demographics, would it? Or the fact that a home bought here 50 years ago for $16000 now can sell for $400000?
28
An inaccuracy to correct, from the first paragraph: The Youth Services Center is an existing use – defined by the City of Seattle as a public facility operated by King County. There is no reclassification of the “youth services center” nor is there any bypassing of land use code procedures or jurisdictional requirements. The text amendments are "Type V" amendments used for an existing public facility such as the Youth Services Center. The proposed text amendments would only allow for a longer façade for the detention facility and a property line setback of 15 feet along 14th Avenue.
29
First off, you can't get effective social services through the system until the kid is convicted...not arrested. Due process means that's 9 months after arrest. Until that point, they reoffend = you need a juvenile facility. In my 27 appearances as a parent, its extremely difficult to get systemic help. If you're one of the vast majority of dumb as a fucking brick parents who try to.get junior "off" of their charges, you get zero help. I tried HARD to get my kid the conviction they deserved...and the help that came with it.

with that experience in mind...

WHAT THE EVER-LOVING FUCK?!?!? NO FACILITY?!?!? HAVE YOU BEEN TO A.JUVENILE.COURT APPEARANCE EVER??? There ARE kids who fully DESERVE to be in jail. FUCK. PULL YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR FAKE UTOPIAN BELIEVING ASS!