Youth jail construction site targeted in overnight ‘molotov cocktail’ attack — UPDATE

An attempted arson attack early Tuesday morning on the under construction expansion of the county youth jail facility was thwarted by a Seattle Police officer at the 12th Ave site and “molotov cocktails” that failed to explode.

All information in this report has not yet been confirmed by police and is based on East Precinct radio dispatches. UPDATE: SPD confirmed the investigation and said more details will be released soon. UPDATE x2: An update from SPD is below. Continue reading

With planned protests off Capitol Hill, 2018 May Day in Seattle will center on March against ICE, Bloc the Juvi — UPDATE

May Day protests around the Capitol Hill area have centered on 12th Ave’s youth jail in recent years

Will these characters show up again in 2018?

El Comite’s annual march — annually peaceful, annually colorful

It’s been a long time since May Day turned into a “riot” on Capitol Hill but given the neighborhood’s place as a gathering point for protest, SPD tactics in the past that resulted in a push of large crowds out of downtown and up the Hill, and the new focus on 12th Ave’s youth jail, the neighborhood remains on watch every time May 1st rolls around.

This year — the first May Day under former federal prosecutor Jenny Durkan’s mayoral watch, expect another day of heavy police presence and television helicopters.

The foundation to the day — and the first amendment activities most everyone can get behind — remains the annual Marcha Y Manifestacion Anual del 1o de Mayo organized by immigrant labor rights organization El Comité. In 2016, the route changed to include Capitol Hill. In 2018, the march that will again be joined by thousands has more significance than ever — calling out U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement activity in Washington:

El Comité and the May 1st Action Coalition are calling on all workers and all social justice advocates to come out on Tuesday, May 1st 2018 (International Workers’ Day) for the 19th Annual May Day March for Immigrant and Workers Rights. We are using the march to publicly expose ICE activity in Washington State and to hold the Department of Licensing accountable for having facilitated ICE harassment against community members by way of sharing information about motorists. The March in Seattle on May 1st is among several coordinated events happening in communities across the State of Washington, including Yakima, and Tacoma.

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No New Youth Jail protesters shut down 12th Ave work site

With reporting by Alex Garland

Activists seeking a halt on construction of the new King County’s Children and Family Justice Center brought their protest to the work site Monday morning.

The construction site protest blocked work entrances at the 12th and Alder site and marked what organizers said was the beginning of a “People’s Moratorium on construction at the site.”

“We have fought this fight on many fronts -– in the courts, in county and city council chambers, in the press, and on the streets,” one activist said in a statement posted by a coalition opposing the new facility. “At every point, the county has refused to listen, so today, we’re stopping the construction with our bodies.”

The announcement did not describe the group’s plans for continuing to block the work site gates. Some protesters were chained together. Inside the fences, some work continued. Police were at the site and monitoring the situation with more units being dispatched in the area. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

King County to ‘reorg’ a public health approach to juvenile justice

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an order Thursday directing the health department to make a plan and timeline for juvenile justice reform. Seattle Police Department Chief Kathleen O’Toole supports the order.

“I wholeheartedly support this bold step to transform the way our community handles juvenile offenders,” O’Toole said in a statement. “Credible research suggests that we can reduce crime by bringing a rehabilitative, public health approach to juvenile justice. In addition to the change that’s being announced today, I also believe we must continue to expand programs that support all of Seattle’s young people early in life, investments that are essential to preventing youth from becoming offenders in the first place.” Continue reading

Despite activist wins, 12th Ave youth jail construction is full speed ahead

Construction is fully underway at 12th and Alder (Image: Alex Garland)

After a legal victory by activist group Ending the Prison Industrial Complex against the funding calculation of King County’s Children and Family Justice Center, construction at the 12th Ave project is still fully underway.

“There’s what we think should be happening and then there’s what appears to be happening and they’re not the same,” said EPIC’s attorney Knoll Lowney.

EPIC sued King County in April 2016 after the county over-collected property taxes under Proposition 1, enacted in 2014.   Continue reading

‘No New Youth Jail’ in King County? Services, ‘preventative programming,’ and peace circles

Protesters at a December rally against the planned juvenile justice center

Protesters at a December rally against the planned juvenile justice center

The League of Women Voters presented three panelists with the overarching question Thursday night — “How do we get to zero detention in King County?”

Through a series of questions focused on the $200 million project to build a new juvenile legal and detention center on 12th Ave, systemic racism, and the goal of zero detention for youth, panelists agreed there’s a lot of changes that can be made to incarcerate fewer young people in King County.

The three panelists had mixed opinions on whether or not the new detention center is a good idea.

Wesley Saint Clair said he struggles with where he stands on the project — the current building is in poor shape and costs more each year to maintain, the King County Superior Court judge said, but also the needs of the youth staying there aren’t being met. Ideally, there would be smaller facilities throughout the county, but that’s not feasible.

“We know incarceration is not a cure to much of anything,” he said. The right services need to be put in place to help youth before they end up in the detention center. Continue reading

‘Zero detention’ — Forum to discuss what ‘No New Youth Jail’ would mean

Protesters at a March Black Lives Matters rally (Image: CHS)

Protesters at a March Black Lives Matters rally (Image: CHS)

King County is moving ahead with its downscaled but still more than $200 million project to build a new juvenile legal and detention center at the site of the current facility at 12th and Alder even as it makes the case that it is moving away from traditional “youth jail” justice. Thursday night, the League of Women’s Voters will convene a panel for a public discussion on the “zero detention” movement:

Forum: How Do We Get to Zero Youth Detention in King County?

In mid-March, CHS reported on the county’s efforts to show its changing approach to juvenile crime and justice as the new facility moves toward construction. According to officials, the current 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.

The new facility is slated to go 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 in 2012, the county put a roughly $210 million levy before voters which passed by a 55-45 margin. The existing detention center has 212 beds. The new one could have up to 144, though County Executive Dow Constantine said he’d like it to hold to no more than 112.

“No New Youth Jail,” meanwhile, continues to be a rallying cry for activists and mayoral candidate Nikkita Oliver has made the cause a major element of her campaign to unseat incumbent Ed Murray.

Nikkita Oliver’s run for mayor: housing, education, and ending the ‘school-to-prison pipeline’

It's official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle's mayor

It’s official. Nikkita Oliver turned in her paperwork Monday to enter the race to be Seattle’s mayor

The newly formed Peoples Party of Seattle is putting all-in-one educator, attorney, spoken-word poet, and activist Nikkita Oliver forward as its candidate to take on Mayor Ed Murray for this year’s election.

Oliver’s decision to run and help launch the “community-centered grassroots political party” came after the election of President Donald Trump.

“I didn’t want to stand in a place of powerlessness,” Oliver said.

After the election, she started meeting people for coffee, talking about values and concerns. Oliver talked with the “aunties and elders” in her community about how people running on the same platforms yield the same results and maybe it’s time to try something different.

Over time, those conversations lead to the collective decision that “we need to transform our local government.”

The party formed and encouraged Oliver to run against Murray.

“I take what my community says to me to heart,” Oliver told CHS. “… I’m not going to act like I entered into this with ease. I take it very seriously.” Continue reading

Making case for new justice center, King County says juvenile incarceration down 16%

King County officials sought to shift the narrative surrounding the new juvenile justice center during a March 10 meeting by pointing to a 16% drop in overall juvenile incarcerations and a steeper drop among youth of color.

For the past few months, talk around the center has been about whether or not there should even be a youth jail. A group called Ending the Prison Industrial Complex has filed appeals and staged protests, even going so far as to demonstrate in front of Mayor Ed Murray’s house in opposition to the new facility. The group’s latest gambit, an appeal to the hearing examiner, was recently rejected.

Now, the county is hoping to spread a message of its own. At the recent meeting, leaders in the county’s juvenile justice system laid out progress they say they have made toward the goals for which EPIC is agitating.

Friday’s presentation also made the case that the planned facility has the lowest number of cells possible. Continue reading