In addition to a more humane youth jail, the new Center would have a well-lit lobby. Image via King County website.

EPIC Appeals ‘Youth Jail’ Permit

More than 60 social justice organizations have joined the appeal against the new ‘Justice Center.’

Anti-racist organizers are appealing a construction permit that was recently issued for a planned new youth jail.

On January 4, Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC) filed an appeal with the Seattle Hearing Examiner’s office against a Master Use Permit that the Department of Construction and Inspections (SDCI) recently issued for King County’s planned new $210 million Children and Family Justice Center. The permit is one of the last obstacles to beginning construction on the project.

As we’ve reported, EPIC and other anti-racist groups have been fighting the creation of the youth jail for four years, ever since voters approved funding for the Center. The activists argue that the project amounts to an investment in youth incarceration. Proponents of the project say that the existing jail is decrepit and inhumane, and they point out that all of the jail areas are designed to be convertable to other uses in the future. Under pressure from activists, King County has already cut the number of planned jail beds in half, to 112.

The appeal was filed with the Hearing Examiner’s office, which has the power to overrule SDCI’s decision to permit the project. The appeal characterizes SDCI’s decison to issue the permit as “arbitrary and capricious and not supported by substantial evidence.” It includes a long and varied list of alleged technical inadequacies: inadequate public notice, inadequate project impact analysis, and even inadequate setbacks from the sidewalk.

Opponents of the youth jail have criticized Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for not stepping in to prevent SDCI from issuing a permit in the first place. Yesterday, mayoral spokesperson Benton Strong issued a press release which read in part, “The Mayor has no legal authority to affect SDCI’s technical permitting decisions. We have been reminded of the dangers of executive interference in permitting decisions and Mayor Murray remains committed to respecting the limits of executive power…

“If the County withdraws its permit application, the City will not defend SDCI’s land use decision in front of the Hearing Examiner. To date, the County has not withdrawn its application. Addressing systemic racial disparities, including those in our criminal justice system, continues to be a priority for Mayor Murray’s administration.”

You can look up the appeal on the Hearing Examiner’s website here. It has links to appeal documents, including the original SDCI permit decision.

Yesterday, EPIC and other groups punctuated their appeal with a protest outside the current youth jail facility:

More in News & Comment

What Becomes of Animal Rights Activists After the Action Is Over?

Peter Young and Justin Samuel helped launch a new era in the fight against fur. Then they went their separate ways.

Sound Publishing archives
State Gets an Earful on Legalizing Home-Grown Marijuana

Unique among the states that have legalized cannabis, Washington bans homegrows.

Judge Veronica Alicea-Galván’s courtroom just after hearing arguments on the I-27 lawsuit on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017. From left to right: Mark Cooke of the ACLU-WA; State Rep. Drew Stokesbary, serving as counsel to the defendants; Bothell City Council member and I-27 organizer Joshua Freed; Jeff Slayton, counsel from the Seattle City Attorney’s Office; court staff; and the brown-coated shoulder of Dr. Bob Wood, former director of the HIV/AIDS Program at Public Health Seattle/King County. Photo by Casey Jaywork
Judge Blocks I-27, Saves Supervised Consumption Sites

The ballot initiative would have prohibited supervised consumption sites (CHELs) throughout King County.

King County Executive Dow Constantine tells President Trump that he is “failing the American people” at the protest of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ trip to Bellevue on Friday. Nicole Jennings/staff photo
Betsy DeVos’ Bellevue Visit Draws Hundreds of Protestors

“You are failing the American people.”

Photo by Casey Jaywork
DOJ: Seattle Police Are Complying With Consent Decree

But Judge Robart could side with monitor Merrick Bobb, who has said SPD is not in full compliance.

Steve Fournier (with microphone) and Loverboy lead singer Mike Reno (in glasses) on stage at Xfinity Arena last Friday. (Diane Webb / YesterdazeNews.com)
Everybody’s Working For a Refund: Loverboy’s Concert in Everett Was a Flop, and Fans Want Their Money Back

Last month in Everett, the ailing lead singer left the stage and an audience member stepped in.

Trump Move Will Send Insurance Premiums Soaring in Washington

The state was prepared for Trump pulling the rug out from under Obamacare. But it’s not pretty.

Photo via Washington Convention Center
Sister’s Work Could Raise Conflict Issues for Jenny Durkan If Elected

T. Ryan Durkan has worked on projects ranging from the Convention Center to Sound Transit.

Councilmembers Mike O’Brien and Kirsten Harris-Talley speak to reporters in the Sam Smith room at City Hall on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 12. Photo by Casey Jaywork
Proposal: Tax Big Business to Raise Over $20 Million Annually for Housing and Shelter

Seattle City Councilmembers Harris-Talley and O’Brien want a #HousingForAllSeattle budget.

Most Read