FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 9/21/2015
O’Brien, Council Endorse Resolution Opposing Youth Detention
SEATTLE – Councilmember Mike O’Brien issued the following statement after the Full Council voted unanimously on Resolution 31614, which calls for the end of youth detention and the development of policies that eliminate the need for the practice:
“A vision for zero use of detention has long been the vision of Seattle youth of color, particularly amongst African-American youth, who have been organizing and leading a campaign against placing youth in detention. Our resolution endorses the vision of zero youth detentions and calls on City departments to create a strategic plan to achieve this vision so that we can put words into action.
“Today’s vote was possible thanks in large part to the organizers from Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) and others in the community. The vote is a step in the direction towards confronting institutional racism and addressing racial disparities in criminal justice. It’s evident that the juvenile justice system has a disproportionately negative impact on African American youth. It’s clear that there’s a need for comprehensive services for incarcerated and at-risk youth.
“The work to advance civil rights will require a concerted and ongoing effort. That’s why the resolution proposes a creation of a strategic plan to achieve zero youth detentions, and intends for city resources be allocated for alternatives to youth incarceration – including restorative justice programs that are designed and led by communities most impacted by incarceration. With the help of local social justice and anti-racist groups – and the start of our City’s budget discussions now underway – Seattle can now advance a comprehensive strategy aimed at keeping kids out of jail.”
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