KC prosecutor candidate: County ‘looks the other way’ with ‘unaccountable’ restorative justice

Sep 7, 2022, 3:29 PM
Jim Ferrell addresses the press in a news conference on Sept. 7 (KIRO Newsradio)
(KIRO Newsradio)

Jim Ferrell, mayor of Federal Way and candidate for King County Prosecutor, is crying foul over “a real crisis in our region,” as crime rates continue to climb. In a news conference Wednesday, he said the increase in crime was handled with “no discernable plan” equivalent to “a failure of justice.”

Ferrell specifically called out the county’s diversion program, Restorative Community Pathways (RCP), whereby select juvenile offenders appear before a community panel of eight to determine reparations, rather than process them through the traditional criminal justice system.

In its current form, first-time felons are allowed to be processed through RCP. The county is exploring expanding that program to adults.

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“There’s a restorative community pathway program that has been launched with serious felonies that are being referred to private organizations with no case numbers, no judge, no check back, and no accountability whatsoever,” Ferrell said.

“And soon, this fall, they’re going to launch RCP for adults. That does not meet community expectations.”

The prosecutor candidate clarified that he believes in restorative justice, just not how it has been implemented in King County. The mayor of Federal Way said that a lack of transparency in the program results in criminals being allowed to commit subsequent crimes without accountability.

“RCP is not a diversion program. It’s a-look-the-other-way program,” Ferrell added. “They do not get a case number, no check back, no judge, nothing. That’s not a diversion program. I was a prosecutor for 19 years. What you need is you have to have diversion programs and restorative programs.

“But they’ve got to have the hallmarks of transparency and accountability,” Ferrell continued. “$3 million has been spent for a year for these groups … You got to know, did the person show up? Did they commit another criminal law violation?”

He also noted that the program, in its current form, permits too large a scope of crimes, specifically bringing guns to schools, commercial and residential burglaries, and felony assaults.

“Those are not appropriate cases in which you never see the inside of the courtroom, don’t get a case number, don’t see a challenge,” Ferrell continued.

KIRO Newsradio has reached out to the other candidate for King County prosecutor candidate, Leesa Manion, for comment. 

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KC prosecutor candidate: County ‘looks the other way’ with ‘unaccountable’ restorative justice