What, midnight basketball for the kids?
The juvenile correction facility is an awful facility and needs to be replaced. We are perfectly able to walk and chew gum at the same time, so why not replace the facility AND work on these new programs? The problem of a half-empty jail is a pretty nice problem to have, but if these new programs don't work out, and we see an increase in Juvi crime, we surely don't want them all packed into the current building.
I understand Solid Ground's idea of incarceration of our youth, but they are sort of missing the point on the new facility. The building is beyond repair. There are problems even accessing clean water, the classrooms are underground, there is no proper room to house restorative justice programs, special education courses, non-profits that offer services needed to reduce recidivism rates, or even safe spaces for attorneys to counsel with clients. Our youth incarceration rates are declining (Yes! Finally!) but that doesn't mean the answer is to house those caught in the system in an unsafe, inadequate environment. The new facility will have less bed space, safe spaces for youth and attorneys to meet, a safe courtroom environment that can allow for confidential hearings, house restorative justice programs, house non-profits to help with adjustment and educations services, and most importantly, it will be clean and safe. I grappled with my support of the initiative when we voted on it, but the fact is, this place is working to do some good and continue the progress we've made. Until we find a way to eradicate racism from our justice system, i don't feel comfortable throwing youth in an inadequate building that's unsafe, not able to function properly, and does not have the space to operate the plethora of programs that will reduce recidivism and help keep youth from entering the system in the first place.
@4: Supposing someone would like to find source material supporting your claims about the existing facility, what records might that person request and from what public agency might he request them? Have there been inspections? Has analysis of the facilities suitability for purpose been performed and reported? Have complaints been made via e-mail?
How about we tear it down and build something totally different? A facility that truly supports youth and families? How about we spend majority of funds allocated upstream, so youth never have to even enter the juvenile system? What about developing a juvenile justice project that is designed for and by the communities most impacted by racism in juvenile justice system. Of course no one wants youth in a run down and unsafe facility. Only 20% of money allocated goes to fixing current decrepit facility. Let's use our imagination and not let this be another prison construction facility that perpetuates the prison industrial complex and structural racism. How about moving from an approach designed around fixing broken youth and families to one that fixes these broken and racist systems. No matter the intent, if the impact continues to produce racist results, we must look at a new approach. Let's think deeper.
If the new facility was mean to REPLACE the old one, it wouldnt be a problem. The County has not stated they will shut the old one down, so its logical to assume they are just building another to fill.


African American kids are mostly arrested for crimes that Caucasian American kids commit at higher rates and more often. Drug crimes. (…)

Also, Black and Latino kids are more likely to be arrested for any incident witnessed by King County law enforcement than White kids (to whom law enforcement witness the same questionable event). (…)

So yes, it is indicative of racism in the County justice system.
@5 The easiest way to get a visual is the Seattle Times piece that ran before the proposition was put up to vote. if I remember right they focused primarily on the access to clean water and general sanitation issues. I get that that was largely a campaign piece to secure funding for the new facility, but it's a good starting point. My partner is a juvenile defense attorney who has taught at the facility and recounted horror stories of the conditions. I'm sure you could file a FOIA in regards to obtaining copies of complaints. I know quite a few public defenders and defense attorneys who have spoken out on the abhorrent conditions that exist. I'm also sure there is some sort of map of the facility online, if you look, to show that the classrooms are largely underground which runs counter to all the knowledge that kids need access to natural light and fresh air to prime optimal learning conditions. I looked into this a couple years ago when we voted, but I don't have bookmarks or emails anymore, or else i would point you in the right direction. Feel free to look though, i don't remember it being particularly hard to find. it's embarrassing that this is a public facility that houses children.

@7 The proposition is to redevelop the space. That would mean demolishing the old one and building a new one. The plan is to better incorporate it into the neighborhood and also create a more safe, service accessible space.

I never thought I'd be in the position of pushing for a new prison space, but since institutional racism in our justice community isn't going to end tomorrow, and since we have a paramount duty to rehabilitate and not just lock-up youth, we need a new space. The concept of making the detention facility more integrated into the neighborhood, offering mentoring/adjustment/support services, safe spaces for youth to meet with family and attorneys seems to be on-par with what Baltimore did. To be clear, Baltimore didn't stop detention of youth, they just wanted to expand and the community said no. This is shrinking our bed facility and adding more space for needed services. It's on par with our long-term vision of reducing/eliminating youth detention, but doing so in a pragmatic, and most importantly safe, way.

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