Strategic Plan Score Card - Safety and Justice
Safety and Justice
Provide for a safe and just community through proactive law enforcement and an accessible and fair justice system, while implementing alternatives to divert people from the criminal justice system.
All youth in King County deserve to grow into happy, healthy adults. Research shows that youth have a better chance at positive adulthood when they don't interact with the juvenile legal system. The Road Map to Zero Youth Detention (ZYD) calls for partnering with youth, families, and communities and building on their strengths so that communities are safe, legal system involvement is limited or avoidable, and all youth have the opportunity to be happy, healthy, safe, and thriving.
The Road Map to Zero Youth Detention is King County's strategic plan to not only further reduce the use of secure detention for youth, but to launch this County on a journey to eliminate it.
How much are we doing?
Since 2002, the number of youth in secure detention has dropped by 61%, with reductions seen across all race and ethnicities. This translates to 70 fewer youth in detention each day, on average.
Leading up to ZYD, between 2013 and 2018, the average daily number of youth in secure detention each day for juvenile offenses dropped 33%. This translates to 19 fewer youth in detention on juvenile matters, on average, per day. In the first quarter of 2019 (January-March), the number of youth in detention for juvenile and adult matters decreased across both groups, when compared to 2018, resulting in the lowest number of youth in detention since 1998. This measure shows the overall trend for the number of youth held in secure detention over the past six years. The expectation of ZYD is to achieve a sustained trend from year to year of fewer youth in secure detention.
Though still overrepresented in detention, there were 12 fewer black youth in detention in Q1 of 2019 compared to 2015. The impact of the change in policy of moving youth charged as adults into juvenile detention is evidenced in the rise in black and Hispanic/Latinx youth in detention in 2018. In Q1 2019, Native youth experienced an increased presence in detention, while all other groups decreased. By leading with racial justice, ZYD is calling for future trends that reflect fewer youth in secure detention overall and particularly for youth of color as they have historically been overrepresented in detention.Back to top
How well are we doing?
Providing alternatives to secure detention (ASD), such as electronic home monitoring, is one way King County is lessening the impact of secure detention on youth involved in the criminal justice system.
Although the average daily number of youth in secure detention has fallen since 2015, the number of youth in alternatives has increased, and the percentage of youth in alternatives to secure detention has risen, relative to the total detention population. (The number of youth in secure detention increased in 2018 due to an Executive Order signed in November of 2017. This order authorized the County’s transfer for all youth under 18 that were charged as an adult from the adult Regional Justice Center to the Youth Services Center in Seattle. From then on, all youth under the age of 18 and charged with an adult crime will be detained with other youth, and not at an adult facility. This resulted in a daily average of 14 youth held on adult matters in secure detention in 2018.)
Another way to measure if ZYD is successful in reducing the number of youth in secure detention is to compare both the average daily population (ADP) and the percent of youth in alternatives to secure detention to those in secure detention. If strategies are working, we would except to see the proportion of youth in alternatives increase.
One indicator for how successful the use of alternatives to secure detention (ASD) is whether youth of color and Native youth are represented in ASD at least at the same percentage they are represented in secure detention. In 2013 and 2018, youth who were black or Asian/Pacific Islander were represented in ASD in similar or greater percentages compared to their representation in secure detention. Youth who were Native American were represented in ASD more than in secure detention in 2013 but not 2018, and youth who were Hispanic/Latinx were underrepresented in ASD in both years.Back to top
Is anyone better off?
If strategies that support initiatives like Best Start for Kids and Zero Youth Detention are working, we should see fewer unique youth being brought to and booked into detention, and fewer youth being booked again within six months.
Fewer youth were booked in 2017 than were in 2013, regardless of booking history. The number of youth rebooked within six months decreased across all groups, although percentages increased for youth with no booking history and those with four or more prior bookings.Back to top
- Zero Youth Detention Data Dashboard
- Road Map to Zero Youth Detention
- Public Health Approach to Zero Youth Detention
The Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention contributes to the public safety of the residents of King County and Washington state by operating safe, secure and humane detention facilities and community corrections programs, in an innovative and cost-effective manner.
King County is committed to improving laws, policies, and practices to improve outcomes for those impacted by the criminal justice system and offer pathways for diversion.
How much are we doing?
Throughout America people of color experience the economic and psychosocial impact of incarceration at a higher rate than the white population; King County is no exception to this trend. Although there is a reduction in overall adult daily population (ADP), King County still experiences the impact of disproportionate incarceration between racial categories, based on the incarceration rate.
The total incarceration rate for King County is 113 out of 100,000 detainees, or about 38% of the national average in 2016 and 2017 (2018 national values will not be available until 2020). This is the lowest incarceration rate measured for DAJD on record.Back to top
How well are we doing?
King County Jail provides a variety of programs and to support inmate success transitioning back into the community. Working with community partners they offer over 18 different inmate programs ranging from high school completion, literacy tutoring, job training, substance use disorder treatment, extensive veteran outreach programs, and art therapy, as well as a number of faith-based groups.
King County is committed to investing laws, policies, and programs that prevent interaction with the criminal justice system and improve outcomes for those involved in this system. For more information about diversion and reentry services please visit this site.Back to top
Is anyone better off?
While there has been a significant improvement in racial disparity, African Americans are 6.9 times as likely to be incarcerated as the white population in King County. In 2006, the incarceration rate for African Americans was 1,044 per 100,000. In 2018 that rate has declined to 583 per 100,000.
Average daily population (ADP) is the average number of adults in secure detention on each day. King County operates two secure adult detention facilities the King County Correctional Facility in downtown Seattle and the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
Since 2005, the average daily population for secure detention has decreased nearly 15%, while the population of the County has increased by 21%. In addition, 56% of adults are released within 3 days of admission to secure detention.Back to top
- King County Department Adult and Juvenile Detention Reports
- King County Diversion and Reentry Services
- King County Inquest Program