Protester explains opposition to new King County juvenile detention center

Mar 27, 2018, 9:46 AM | Updated: 10:22 am
protesters, king county juvenile detention center...
Protesters block traffic in Seattle in March as they protest a the new King County juvenile detention center. (KIRO 7)
(KIRO 7)

The message a group of protesters tried to get across earlier this month was drowned out by the frustration over the gridlock they caused.

RELATED: Why SPD did not arrest traffic-snarling protesters

But on Monday, March 26, we got word that the protesters were back. This time, they were at the site of King County’s new juvenile detention center. Officially known as the Children and Family Justice Center, the facility is under construction.

The protesters want the $210 million project shut down.

KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross asked one of the protesters what they are asking for.

“The issue for me is, I think youth incarceration is unnecessary and deeply harmful. So I think we’re here today to send the message that it’s not something we want to see in our county,” a woman who identified herself as Jed Walsh said.

So then what should we do in cases where someone who has made poor decisions may be dangerous?

She says more resources and investments need to be made in communities of color, to give children the same opportunities white children have. Let’s explore what led to an individual to act a certain way, instead of locking them up, she said.

But what about if someone is intending to cause harm here and now?

“I don’t think we should have a society with cops. I think we need to abolish the police and that’s part of the problem, it’s a racist structure as well as prisons are a racist structure.”

Walsh says most of the children taken to a youth jail are not there for violent offenses. Therefore, she says, violence is not a justification for a youth jail.

She added that harm often comes to children in juvenile detention centers and the new facility won’t be any better than the old one.

King County responds to juvenile detention center protest

Walsh also says the county has taken “false steps” in response to the group’s demands.

RELATED: Open letter to City of Seattle

On Monday, King County Executive Dow Constantine released this statement:

“I am aware of the activities at the Children and Family Justice Center, and I have read the recent correspondence from the No New Youth Jail Coalition. We continue to invite all those interested in youth welfare and juvenile justice to join a full dialogue with King County and our community partners as we do the difficult work to further reduce the number of youth in detention.

I do not believe keeping kids in the current decrepit and disrespectful facility is the right solution. Moving young people to adult jail also takes us in the wrong direction. In fact, I issued an Executive Order directing that all young people charged as adults be moved to the juvenile facility so that they can receive more age-appropriate services and programming.

While we complete the CFJC, we will continue to modify the new, smaller detention consistent with a public health approach to support youth and families before, during and after they are involved in the justice system. I have accepted an invitation to debate this issue on the Seattle Channel, and I look forward to a lively exchange of views.”

Listen to the entire conversation here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

KIRO Radio staff

Mayfield: Far more than meets the eye when it comes to how we use emojis

We have words, yet sometimes they aren’t enough. That's where emojis come in, giving us a diverse way to express ourselves to loved ones.
12 hours ago
Holiday cheer, grief...
KIRO Radio staff

Mayfield: What if we shared our grief with our holiday cheer this year?

Its December and holiday cheer is everywhere, but not for all of us. So, what if this season we shared the cheer and the grief?
1 day ago
rain, meteorologist...
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Fingerprints of warming planet’ amid Seattle area’s year of record-breaking weather

When meteorologist Ted Buehner last joined KIRO Radio, the temperature was reaching triple digits. Five months later, there has been record rainfall.
1 day ago
World AIDS Day...
KIRO Radio staff

Mayfield: More hope now than ever for cure to decades-long epidemic

Decades after HIV and AIDS first surfaced, there's more hope than ever for an eventual cure within the next decade.
2 days ago
Tacoma police, South King County...
MyNorthwest Staff

South King County mayors demand action from state to end rash of violence

Multiple mayors in South King County are banding together to combat a violent trend after seven people were shot in four days. 
3 days ago
KIRO Radio staff

Mayfield: Focusing less on money and more on giving

What if we focused on giving more every day? And what if -- beyond money -- we gave more love, wisdom, and leadership?
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
Protester explains opposition to new King County juvenile detention center