A major vote is coming up in the King County Council, a legislative body which many often forget exists.
King County Council members will vote Monday on a proposal to ban the use of solitary confinement on minors charged with adult crimes in the King County Jail and Maleng Regional Justice Center.
Council Members Rod Dembowski, Jenne Kohl-Welles, and Larry Gossett sponsored the legislation, which would not only ban the use of solitary (in all its forms), but also appoint a third party to monitor the county's progress in doing so.
This week, a group of advocates for Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian prisoners wrote to the council urging them to pass the legislation, and described the impacts that solitary confinement has on Native youth, who experience PTSD at triple the rate of the general population.
"Making such horrible realities even worse, Native American youth are 30 percent more likely than Caucasian youth to be referred to juvenile court than have charges dropped, which results in their early entry into the system—perhaps without return," the letter reads.
Just two weeks before Council Member Dembowski introduced the legislation, a group of teenagers placed in solitary confinement while awaiting trial sued the county. The complaint described disturbing conditions for teens in jail, particularly teens with mental illness. The teens in solitary had "no meaningful human interaction, little to no education or programming, no music or television, and very few reading materials," the complaint read.
Read the bill here.