The results are in and 46.59% of King County voters rejected the new jail project, but overall it was approved. We are enthusiastic about the number of people who rejected this measure–the outrageous “Yes for Children and Families” campaign clearly did not fool everyone. Yes, King County youth are locked up in a dangerously decrepit facility as part of a racist, abusive system that destroys their lives. Should we invest further in caging our youth and tearing apart families of color with relentless criminalization? NO! We need to abandon this harmful approach and start focusing on supporting the well being of youth through things that actually work like income support, arts and cultural programs, child care, community organizing, gardens, health care, and housing.
Our group will be continuing this fight–we’re not ready to lay down and let the County sell more public land to private developers to further gentrify the Central District and displace black families. We’re not ready to watch King County make another big investment in punishment, banking on a future of imprisoning youth of color and youth in poverty. We refuse to watch the County invest in shinier, fancier facilities for terminating parental rights of black and native families and putting youth into a foster care system that destroys their futures. King County is right about one thing–the current youth jail is no place for youth and should be shut down. We are in full support of its demolition. But that land should not be used for condos and a fancy new jail and dependency courts–those things do not make our communities safe and they do not reduce violence–they are violence. More to come….