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caption: The residential area of the new Clark Children and Family Justice Center is shown on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, during a media tour of the facility on Alder Street in Seattle.
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The residential area of the new Clark Children and Family Justice Center is shown on Wednesday, February 5, 2020, during a media tour of the facility on Alder Street in Seattle.
Credit: KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

New King County proposal: Close the youth jail by 2025

King County Executive Dow Constantine on Tuesday proposed a plan that activists have long called for: closing the youth jail.

"We will work toward entirely closing centralized youth detention at the Children and Family's Justice Center by the end of 2025 as has been demanded by Black Lives Matter," Constantine said on KUOW’s The Record.

Constantine said 19 teenagers and children were incarcerated as of Tuesday at the King County Youth Services Center.

He said that he will propose closing detention beds as they free up.

In addition, he said he'll propose that the county spend money to create a way to move some of the youth back into the community – though he said some cases are difficult.

"I believe that we have the ability to do what few, if any, have done which is to eliminate a central youth detention facility," Constantine said.

Anti-racism activists urged the county not to open the detention center in the first place, and instead bulk up alternative programs. But the county opened a new facility to hold youth this year.

The center also includes a court and community spaces.

The county has long had a goal of zero-youth-detention. Constantine said he would like the jail closed by 2025.