Guest Editorial: King County Should Not Build a New Juvenile Detention Center

Comments

1
Some questions:

How much money has already been spent? Are your figures auditable?

What would be the cost of cancelling the project? Again, is that number auditable?

What will happen to the bonds that were taken out? Will they have to be reissued or paid off last like the kingdome?

Will any new "kid jail" have to be approved by a new bond issue?

The county records say the building was built in 1951. The editorial says early 90s. How do you explain the discrepancy?

What is your interim plan for the facility?

A policy is one thing, a facility is another. How exactly would the existing design prohibit the county from reducing youth incarceration? You seem to have accomplished that with the existing facility.

2
About fucking time people start paying attention. Glad there are a least two politicians that seem to care about not locking up kids.
3
Yes--Thank you Ed Murray for actually leading . . . finally! Keep leading!
4
We need to invest in youth, not put them behind bars!!
5
I wholeheartedly reject the idea that no child should ever be jailed - there are certain violent crimes that demand jailing. If you disagree with this basic idea then I cannot take your views on criminal justice seriously. Certain victims deserve and demand justice and I don't believe a 15 year old should be incarcerated with adults.

Also, notice how the editorial just glossed right over their admittance that the current courthouse is a complete shithole? They offer no solution to that problem and endorse the idea that the problem should continue. I'd feel more comfortable with stopping the construction of this site if they had an immediate solution to that problem but they chickenshitted out on us and simply disagreed with the idea that "something is better than nothing." Unfortunately, that "nothing" continues to expose children to horrid conditions and I have no idea why they're ok with that.
6
@5 Agreed. It's absurd that persons advocating for juvenile justice are apparently unwilling to work with local government to come up with a workable solution to upgrade or replace the court facilities.

Bruce and Rod, I really suggest you take a walk over to the current facility and chat with some of the lawyers who appear there regularly in connection with child abuse proceedings and ask what they want to see happen. Might want to wear a dust mask, however--asbestos exposure is a problem.
7
This is a wonderful development, says my optimistic side

My cynical side says, considering that the new jail jail-courthouse project was begun in 2012 (and not 1912) "new evidence" that incarcerating children is inhumane and ineffective is a funny way to put it, but whatever. Today I say thank goodness for upcoming elections.
8
We should probably tell morons to stop having kids who inevitably grow up to also be morons.
9
@5 "I wholeheartedly reject the idea that no child should ever be jailed - there are certain violent crimes that demand jailing. If you disagree with this basic idea then I cannot take your views on criminal justice seriously. Certain victims deserve and demand justice and I don't believe a 15 year old should be incarcerated with adults."

Which is why I cannot understand why Dow Constantine can't just pay lip service to the anti-jail advocates, start the construction, and write off a handful of votes or a weak primary challenge from the lunatic fringe.

Everyone at the city level can bray all they want for political expediency since they have no actually role in the decision.

I write this as a self-identified liberal Democratic hack!
10
@5: This.
It's the same as the loonies who want to abolish police forces (and establish "community justice organizations" to replace them).
11
I would wholeheartedly endorse the idea that non-violent children should never be jailed. But that's not the case. Children occasionally commit violent crimes. They rape, murder, assault with assorted weapons. You can't simply give such children counseling and send them on their way.

For non-violent offenses, yes, absolutely, find an alternative to jail. But you will always need at least some capacity for a youth jail for the small number serious violent offenders who happen to be minors. You will never get to zero.

As long as your publicly state goal is zero incarceration and to get rid of a youth jail entirely, I will never take you seriously.
12
What's wrong with the existing building? I helped do all the sitework back in the mid '90s. It's not that old.
13
Why is the projected cost more than anticipated? Because the construction has been delayed for 5 years. Simply compound the cost of living index for 5 years and the added expense is obvious. I am a tax payer. I willingly agreed to pay my part for an improved facility. Since the government is not using the funds as approved in a timely manner, return the money with interest. The government does not get to re-appropriate the funds for other purposes.
14
I live in Rod's district and will carefully reconsider my support for his future candidacies. I used to make routine deliveries to the present juvenile detention facility, and even 15 years ago the building was about to fall down.

The notion that we can rehabilitate every 15 year old criminal who gets caught up in the justice system is ludicrous. It has no basis in reality.

Really, I deserve better from my elected officials than what I have read here today.
15
How about stopping the revolving door by putting more funds into beds for the mentally ill and drug-addicted? While zero incarceration is a nice goal, Public Safety demands a minimum level of humane bed space for those violent juvenile offenders who cannot safely remain in the community. At the same time, the percentage of offenders incarcerated currently includes too many kids who are suffering from mental illness and drug addiction. A modern criminal justice system must recognize this, both for youth and adult incarceration, but especially for youth where the biggest impact can be achieved by concentrating resources on recovery rather than setting the stage for a lifetime of future incarceration.