Juvenile Justice System Update
I am excited to begin work as the new chair of the King County Council's Health, Housing and Human Services Committee. The committee will take action on policies relating to public health, affordable housing and human service programs that include elements of social justice.
One of my top priorities will be to implement strategies to end racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. These disparities impact kids in South King County more than any other part of the county. While King County has far fewer kids in jail than most large counties in the nation, the racial disparities in our youth jail facilities are increasing. Currently, half the kids in the youth jail are African American.
Today, I joined the King County Executive, King County Superior Court and other Councilmembers to announce a Race and Equity Action Plan towards a major shift in our approach to juvenile justice to make the system more fair.
I was proud to work with the community to develop strategies that specifically target the racial disparities in the county's juvenile justice system, and give us the ability to take action now.
These strategies include:
• Providing resources to the King County Public Defender's Office targeted to better help kids in the system with a coordinated team of social service and legal advocates.
• Improving the ability for South King County youth to get the services they need by improving transportation and developing more local options to replace detention for youth.
• Developing positive alternatives to detention for probation violations. These alternatives include connecting youth with community-based programs and other interventions with a new focus on incentives rather than just sanctions.
These actions will be taken as soon as possible, and I will continue to work with the community on strategies to end racial disparities in our juvenile justice system.
I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on this or any other issue facing our community.
Councilmember, District 5
Metropolitan King County Council
516 Third Ave, Suite 1200
Seattle, WA 98104