King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an Executive Order to move youth charged as adults from the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent to the Youth Services Center, a facility in Seattle better able to offer age-appropriate programs and services.
In an Executive Order signed today, Executive Constantine directed that all youth under 18 who have been charged as adults will be housed at the Youth Services Center on East Alder Street, subject to discharge of full bargaining obligations with unions. Females under 18 and charged as adults are currently housed at the Youth Services Center.
Youth now at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent will be transferred to the YSC as logistics allow. Five youth have been transferred as of Oct. 26. Fifteen youth currently remain at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.
By March 1, 2018, no youth will be housed at the Maleng Regional Justice Center, except under emergency situations.
By state law, 16- or 17-year-olds are automatically charged as an adult if they are charged with a violent offense such as murder, manslaughter, rape or other crimes. In certain circumstances, the juvenile, the prosecutor or the court may make a motion to transfer the juvenile to adult criminal prosecution.
The Youth Services Center has staff and programming better able to meet the needs of youth. Services include:
- A King County library branch
- Full-service school that includes summer courses. Youth are typically in class for six hours per day
- Programming with volunteers that includes creative writing, improv and gardening
- Mental health and adolescent clinic provided by physicians from Children’s Hospital and the University of Washington
- Developmentally appropriate discipline based on adolescent brain science
“King County’s leaders are united in pushing forward with the best ideas in juvenile justice reform. By moving youth charged as adults to the Youth Services Center, we are able to offer age-appropriate programs and services to help them get back on track,” said Executive Constantine. “This is just one reform of many, including creating more alternatives to detention and investing in the resolution of family challenges. As our work continues, we will do everything we can to help young people overcome the struggles of adolescence and the burdens of history.”