Bringing a public health approach to juvenile detention

Dow-safespacesDear fellow King County employee,

Today I will sign an Executive Order that will change the way we approach juvenile detention by creating a system that addresses the traumatization of youth in detention, utilizes therapeutic approaches and restorative justice alternatives, and ensures that young people and their families have ready access to supports and services in the community.

I have directed the creation of a multi-departmental team under the oversight and direction of Public Health – Seattle & King County to draft a proposal for implementing this approach and the reorganization of juvenile detention services.

We have made great progress in transforming our approach to juvenile justice. Our Juvenile Detention Officers have embraced restorative justice, and they understand the challenges of adolescence.

By taking a public health approach to juvenile justice we can build on the work that Juvenile Detention has done to provide an environment that limits further traumatization, promotes resilience, and ensures youth and their families have access to needed supports and services to help them transition out of detention and onto a path to lifelong success.

The interdepartmental team will comprise representatives from several department, including Adult and Juvenile Detention, Public Health and Community and Human Services, as well as criminal justice agencies, community partners and experts, who will present a plan for this transition to me by February 15, 2018.

This is important work and will help us continue to build a holistic, trauma informed juvenile justice system that effectively serves and supports children, youth and families, and the safety of our community.

Sincerely,

Dow Signature

Dow Constantine
King County Executive