Bridging the Gap Between Community and Systems

Willard Jimerson, Jr. grew up in Seattle’s historically African American Central District neighborhood. Raised by a loving grandmother and grandfather, young Will could never have predicted that just six weeks after his 13th birthday he’d become a ward of the state and spend the rest of his childhood in America’s adult prison system.

One fatal and catastrophic moment on a late night in 1994 changed everything. The kid who once fancied himself a charming and mischievous prankster, who loved playing arcade games and pick-up football, was gone.

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The Road Map to Zero Youth Detention

On July 21, 2020, King County Executive, Dow Constantine, committed to eliminating secure detention for youth in King County by 2025. While the commitment to a specific timeline is new, the work to achieve the goal of Zero Youth Detention began in 2017 when King County Executive, Dow Constantine, announced Public Health – Seattle & King County’s Zero Youth Detention Initiative (ZYD).

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Opportunity for Youth to Get Involved In the Local Anti-trafficking Movement

There is a definite connection between the commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) of children and the juvenile justice system. Although exact numbers don’t currently exist, studies show that most victims of commercial sexual exploitation of children in King County have also been involved in the legal system.

The same systemic issues, racial inequity, and income inequality that make youth vulnerable to becoming involved in the legal system also make youth targets for perpetrators of CSE.

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Using a public health approach to reach zero youth detention

Research shows that youth have a better chance at positive adulthood when they don’t interact with the legal system. A public health approach means employing prevention and intervention strategies that eliminate the need for juvenile detention and promote the well-being of all youth.

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Announcing the Zero Youth Detention Data Dashboard

Reposted from the Zero Youth Detention Blog. King County is pleased to announce the first release of the Zero Youth Detention data dashboard. The dashboard provides the data about the juvenile legal system in King County including specifically highlighting racial disproportionality. The dashboard will show progress on the full range of efforts to achieve the goal […]

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