King County Juvenile Detention CenterPhoto: King County Dept of Adult & Juvenile Detention / King County Dept of Adult & Juvenile Detention
Fewer kids are being referred to King County courts each year – and most of these disappearing defendants are white.
Last year 2,298 white juveniles were referred to the courts compared to 5,107 in 2002. That’s a 55 percent decrease. Black youth saw a 21 percent drop in referrals over the same period.
An analysis of the juvenile prosecutions shows that black kids are more likely to be referred to the courts, more likely to be formally charged, less likely to have their cases diverted, and more likely to be sentenced to secure detention or tried as adults.
Seattle Times Blogger Lael Henterly spoke with Marcel Purnell, a Community Justice Program Assistant at AFSC, and Dustin Washington, director of the AFSC's Community Justice Program, to get their perspectives on the racial disparities in Seattle's juvenile justice system.