Comments

1
This makes no sense. Just because you have 154 beds, that doesn't mean you have to use them all, but if you are short of beds and doubling/tripling people up in rooms, you're just making conditions worse. It's like banking on wishes.
2
Can you/anyone talk more about the laws creating those funding restrictions that require convictions for services? ^It's common theory in public health that the more "upstream" you can provide services, the more people benefit, thus eliminating the need for housing increasing for jailed populations.
3
@2: Expect to see more from me on this soon.
4
I appreciate the protesters' fight to address the systemic race issues in our society but fail to see how limiting beds addresses the situation. Do they think jail administrators go out and snatch children in the night when they have empty beds to fill? While the focus should be on rehabilitation, do they believe we could live in a world where no children could be incarcerated under any circumstance? Would they prefer that, when an unnecessarily small jail is built, overflow juvenile population go to adult jail? Be farmed out to private prison companies like they do in California? All this with King County growing exponentially (the second fastest population growth in the US between 2012 and 2013). Wouldn't this be effort better directed at state and county lawmakers?

I don't mean to be glib, because I'm all for an overhaul of the American law and order system. I'd like to see the federal government take over for demonstrably racist police departments. I'm morally opposed to the entire concept of privatized incarceration. This just feels symbolic rather than substantive.
5
I think this is real progress.

On the one hand, I think zero incarcerations is a fantasy. There will always be a handful of truly dangerous youth who commit truly awful crimes that need to be locked up. But for a lot of non-violent minor offenders, there are alternatives. And getting them help and services is more likely to reduce recidivism than throwing them in jail.

So reducing the number of beds available will force the juvenile justice system (cops, courts, jails, counselors, etc) to look to alternatives to incarceration. While I don't think zero beds is realistic, reducing the number of beds to the minimum number necessary and spending money on alternatives to incarceration is a great step.
6
"Not long afterward, the event concluded with a festive group dance session."

Was this a Portlandia sketch disguised as a meeting?
7
@5 less beds will mean more "juveniles" put into adult holding.

This is champion level dum dum thinking that less beds = less minority incarceration.
8
We constantly read stories about kids that commit violent crimes and are 'booked & released' to go on to commit more / worse violent crimes. (For example the horrible death of the Pike Market Tuba Man). I don't think the problem is too many beds. The Seattle justice system for youth is a fucking joke.

People who are ruthlessly violent at 15/16/17 don't grow up to be compassionate caring adults.

We need to stop locking up kids for being truient and smoking pot, and stop letting free the kids who (if they live to be adults) will be violent psychopaths.

Get them mental health care, make sure their family can pay rent/buy food, give them electronic monitoring (that they DO NOT have to pay for) and then hold them to a bar high. Zero tolerance for violence.
9
@6 This was an impressive and thoughtful movement-building event with a day of very serious discussion about a system that has caused deep harm and trauma, much of it inflicted on black people. Several people spoke on Saturday who have been in prison. Other people who attended, like me, have witnessed the suffering of family members who were caught up in the criminal justice system as teenagers and were then shaped by their experiences of capricious sentencing, racial and geographic inequities in treatment, etc. Confronting all this damage and attempting to build the strength (and unity) to go forward is very hard work. I believe the emotional pain and damage is where the deep anger I saw at the King County Council meeting comes from. Saturday's tribunal did really admirable work toward establishing a way to move forward to campaign for very specific changes in our local criminal justice system. I'm very grateful to the organizers, who must have given a lot of time to put this together. The "dance party" was a lovely, brief respite after the hard intellectual and emotional work of the day. I look forward to working with these folks in the future.
10
@4 I do not think we should assume the movement opposing the new youth jail has ever focused demands or energy on a simple reduction in beds. It seems more like a weak attempt by the county to placate a movement working for a completely different model of justice that provides safety net services and empowers youth to stay in school before they come into contact with the police. EPIC is all about abolition. It's right in the name.
11
I am very pleased that Larry Gossett acknowledges impact of the "street heat." I hope others notice it too and feel inspired get active, seeing that that can matter. It's nice to know that the raucus four-hour public hearing had an effect despite some council members' seeming boredom and impatience with the process and the message.

This is most disturbing: "Not at the tribunal was King County Superior Court presiding judge Susan Craighead, who last month called the movement against the detention center a 'cancer growing on the City of Seattle's body politic.' In a striking reversal, in a speech that same month, she struck a contrite tone, saying, 'We are sorry we have not been listening well enough to our community.'"

Judge Craighead's statement (which represents her beliefs) is disturbing, but Judge Saint Clair's response is beautiful. I believe this proposal is a great start to a serious paradigm shift. It's not going to happen all at once and we shouldn't expect it to, but do NOT give up and step back and stop cooperating if things don't move as quickly as we would like. Stay engaged, and please, activists, let's learn to enjoy victories when we have them. It's okay to do that.
12
EPIC, Ending the Prison Industrial Complex, means eliminating all prisons? Good luck with that. To me that phrase represents ending the for-profit mass incarceration juggernaut.

Please wait...

and remember to be decent to everyone
all of the time.

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