Protestors against Children and Family Justice Center block 4th Ave

A group of protesters targeting King County Executive Dow Constantine and the under construction 12th Ave Children and Family Justice Center blocked the street outside the county administrative building at 4th and James Friday morning.

Seven demonstrators including members of the Ending the Prison Industrial Complex activist group were locked together in a “moving blockade” with a large group of protesters also on the sidewalk and others waving flags to help block the street.

(Image: CHS)

Police were responding to the scene which began unfolding around 8 AM. Traffic was fully blocked on 4th Ave and many streets leading into the area were gridlocked including access to the King County Jail. Traffic was also reported backing up on the I-5 and I-90 freeways. Authorities were suggesting people consider traveling by light rail to get through the downtown area.

In October, CHS reported on the ongoing construction at the 12th Ave facility even as the EPIC group touted a victory in court against a funding calculation used by the county.

The new facility is under construction on the same campus as the existing juvenile justice center along 12th Ave about a block south of the Seattle University campus. King County has been looking to replace the courthouse and administrative buildings for years, and is building a new jail along with them. The recession of 2008 held up plans for the expensive project, but the county passed a roughly $210 million levy in 2012. CHS reported here on the county’s efforts to show its changing approach to juvenile crime and justice.

According to officials, the aging 12th and Alder facility held an average daily population in 2016 of 51 juveniles, down 16% from 2015, and an even steeper drop from 1998 when the facility routinely held more than 150 people. Meanwhile, another 17-20 juveniles on average are held in the adult facility in Kent, owing to regulations surrounding their age and the crimes involved.

EPIC and anti-youth jail activists have been at odds with King County for more than five years. The newly formed Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County has also criticized the project. “The County already knows investing in prevention has a proven return that far outpaces the financial and social burden of locking up children,” the group writes. “Prevention and alternatives to incarceration are not only cheaper, they strengthen families and communities.”


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10 thoughts on “Protestors against Children and Family Justice Center block 4th Ave

  1. I really, really don’t get what these people think they are protesting….

    The city is replacing an old outdated and crumbling facility with a new one that has *fewer* detention cells, more space for counseling, more space for education, more space for community programs, more private areas for people to meet…

    Would you all prefer to keep rundown wreck of a building that we have now… would you rather that a minor who really should not be released to the public have to be housed with adults because there is no other place for them…. or do you live in a fairy tale land where no one under 18 could possibly do something like that and that all bad kids are just misunderstood…

    • They are protesting over $200 million spent on a facility that should instead be directed towards preventative measures, which are proven to get more bang for your buck anyways.

    • Ah – in other words, it’s the fairy tale world where there will be no need for the facility at all….

      Cause the old one is falling apart and has to either be rehabbed or replaced and if you don’t like the price tag for the new one with all of it’s better things (including more of those preventative measures…) then putting the money into the old one and getting less for more $$ certainly doesn’t make any sense.

    • I get their po8nt, but it’s absurd to think suddenly doing an about-face, scrapping the new facility and redirecting all the money to preventative measures will somehow magically, retroactively rehabilitate the youth who are already there. Some of these kids might have been helped by earlier intervention, but some wouldn’t. What do they think should be done with them?

    • 200 million spent on a facility instead of prevention measures and we get protests.

      120 million is being spent to learn how Seattle users can inject drugs safely instead of drug use prevention measures and not a protest from anyone! Not really the same but you should get my point.

      Until kids stop doing heinous things, facilities like this are needed. I agree with Jim.

  2. Here is the thing about leftist protestors: They don’t know when to call it a day! The new facility is well into construction….do they think King Co will stop it and demolish what they’re building?

    Also, a protest like this is counterproductive. They are not changing anyone’s mind, but instead are pissing off thousands of people, for no reason at all.

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