Today, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced plans to close the brand new youth jail by 2025. After our seven-year fight against this $233 million dollar project, we were devastated to see it open in fall 2019. The recent uprising against anti-Black racism and racist systems criminalization, however, have pushed the County to finally concede that its punishment systems are unjust and it is time to shutter this horrible facilities. If only they had listened to the outpouring of community opposition to this wasteful project earlier! We will continue to fight for the jail to close immediately, not in five years, and for resources to be directed away from criminalization and toward what youth really need, housing, health care, arts programs, and transportation.
But now, we celebrate! With the City moving towards defunding the police (check out this blueprint for defunding created by Decriminalize Seattle, a coalition of which No New Youth Jail is a part), and new announcements about closing jails, we are seeing the fruits of decades of work by activists fighting racism and criminalization!