More than 100 organizations sign opposition to youth jail

Protesters supporting the No Youth Jail movement listen to Nikkita Oliver speak at an announcement that 100 organizations have signed a petition against the King County Children and Family Justice Center. (Photo by Naomi Ishisaka)

With cranes and tractors busy at work on the construction of King County’s new youth jail, dozens of activists released a list of nearly 100 organizations that all signed on to oppose the project.

Organizations ranging from Campus Animal Rights Educators to Incarcerated Mothers Advocacy Project signed on to support a moratorium on construction of the new King County Children and Family Justice Center.

The No New Youth Jail coalition has spent six years fighting the project. Other organizations that signed on to oppose the project include the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, Columbia Legal Services, One America and the King County Department of Public Defense. 

Immigrant rights advocate Maru Mora Villalpando, with signatory organization Northwest Detention Center Resistance, said that people are surprised when they hear that Seattle is jailing and detaining young people.

“When I told [group members] I was coming here, they said ‘Seattle is doing that too? I thought it was only Trump,’” Mora said.

A letter from immigrant detainees that Mora read at the press conference said that the “millions and millions of dollars should be spent in education, in housing for youth. How about the money is used instead for jobs?”

Maru Mora Villalpando speaks against King County’s youth jail, which is under construction behind the protesters. (Photo by Naomi Ishisaka)

In a prepared statement released by the No Youth Jail group, the King County Department of Public Defense issued a statement explaining its stance against the detention center.

“Juvenile jails and prisons traumatize young people and make communities less safe. When young people are incarcerated they are ripped away from their homes, schools, and communities. … Those harms disproportionately fall on young people of color, who make up more than 80 percent of the young people incarcerated in King County. Rather than being locked up, young people should be supported in their community.”

Nikkita Oliver speaks to a crowd gathered in support of No Youth Jail, as the group announced that 100 organizations have signed a petition against the King County Children and Family Justice Center. (Photo by Naomi Ishisaka)
Protesters supporting the No Youth Jail movement. (Photo by Naomi Ishisaka.)

 

Various signs at a No Youth Jail demonstration. The large one says “This could be housing.” (Photo by Naomi Ishisaka)
Brandon Wong, an organizer with Formerly Incarcerated Group Healing Together, addresses a crowd gathered to protest King County’s youth jail in front of a large sign that says “This could be housing.” (Photo by Naomi Ishisaka)
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