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