Tag Archives: Youth Detention

Restorative Justice Becomes Law

New legislation happened quietly this year in Washington that affects the juvenile justice system. I knew it was happening, but the legislators I work with wanted to keep it quiet. Sometimes, when a light shines on legislation, people stop doing the right thing and do what they think is politically correct to be re-elected.

The new legislation can be found here: http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2015-16/Pdf/Bills/House%20Passed%20Legislature/2906-S.PL.pdf

The most important part of the legislation may be the addition of restorative justice as an alternative to secure detention:

“Community-based rehabilitation” means one or more of the following: Employment; attendance of information classes; literacy classes; counseling, outpatient substance abuse treatment programs, outpatient mental health programs, anger management classes, education or outpatient treatment programs to prevent animal cruelty, or other services including, when appropriate, restorative justice programs; or attendance at school or other educational programs appropriate for the juvenile as determined by the school district.”

Previously, restorative justice had restricted access. This opens it up for local municipalities to make their own judgment regarding what is good rehabilitation. It also defines restorative justice:

“Restorative justice” means practices, policies, and programs informed by and sensitive to the needs of crime victims that are designed to encourage offenders to accept responsibility for repairing the harm caused by their offense by providing safe and supportive opportunities for voluntary participation and communication between the victim, the offender, their families, and relevant community members.”

This is a big deal. Restorative justice is now codified in Washington state law!

We owe a great deal of thanks to Rep. Roger Goodman for being a tireless advocate of restorative justice. You can send a note of thanks via his assistant at: Derek.Zable@leg.wa.gov


Upcoming Event: Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome

Dr. Joy DeGruy author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome”

to Speak at the Edmonds School District Thursday 10/24, 7-9:30 p.mFrom Darlene Flynn, City of Seattle:

“Hello all,

In collaboration with the Edmonds School District, The Hazel Miller Foundation, Communities of Color Coalition and Families of Color United In Service (FOCUIS), I am excited and proud to let you all know we will be hosting Dr. Joy DeGruy author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome” to Speak at the Edmonds School District Thursday October 24th 7-9:30 p.m.

This event is FREE and seating is limited.

The Edmonds School District is located at:

20420 68th Ave W Lynnwood, WA 98036 (just south of Edmonds Community College)

Dr. DeGruy is the foremost expert on Black historical trauma and its effects on the community today.

Dr. DeGruy’s presentation is a call for us all to identify the manifestations of trauma, a call to healing and a call to action.

We look forward to you seeing you Thursday October 24th from 7-9:30 p.m. at the Edmonds School District!

For more information on events like this, please join FOCUIS on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EAACH2012?ref=hl

Daniel VanArsdale
Director of Families of Color United In Service (FOCUIS)

Kairos Torch Volunteers Needed

Hi!  I’d like to share with you a mission that is dear to my heart.  Kairos Prison Ministry.  In Greek, there are two words for time…chronos and Kairos.  Chronos is the time on your watch and Kairos has a meaning more close to “the right or opportune moment.”  Any expectant mother can tell you about waiting for Kairos time while being on chronos time.

Kairos Prison Ministry delivers a little bit of God’s time to those who are incarcerated.  It offers a short course in Christian love and unity to people who have little experience of a supportive, loving community.  Often, lives are transformed.

Kairos Torch is a ministry for juveniles who are incarcerated.  Hey, youth need God’s love too!  In Torch, not only are the youth given a Christian retreat, they are given a mature Christian mentor that they meet with for one year.  This can often be one of the most stable relationships that a youth may have.

This year, here in Washington, Kairos Prison Ministry is holding Torch #1 at King County Youth Detention Center in Seattle. We hope to interrupt the cycle of recidivism that so many youth become trapped in. Kairos for adults has been shown, statistically, to lower the recidivism rate from 70% (or so) to 30%. This is significant! And you can be part of it!

There are several ways to support Kairos Prison Ministry. Prayer, Volunteering, and Financial Support just to name a few!  If you are interested in any of these, please contact Roberta Newell at rnewell@post.com or Terri Stewart at YCC-Chaplain@thechurchcouncil.org.

Washington State Kairos Prison Ministry Website

International Kairos Prison Ministry Website

Snippets from Detention

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness did not overcome it.
~John 1:5

…thrown out…

…i pray for my father’s death…
…i wanted to be president…
…i miss my children…
…i don’t need anybody…
…i have to be wanted…
…i wonder where god is…



Child Slavery is Bigger then Ever

York-led study finds homeless youth more vulnerable to crime

York-led study finds homeless youth more vulnerable to crime

A poem: “I am from nothing”

Below is a poem from mindy hardwick’s blog.  She facilitates poetry writing workshops in youth detention centers.  I think this really gives a glimpse into the mind of a youth in prison.  Especially the idea of being nothing and coming from nothing.


Written by a Teen Girl


I am from nothing.

A hole in the wall

An unnoticed fly on the ceiling

I am from deception

A never-ending circle of flies

A knife in the back of a friend
I am from perversion

The look on a man’s face

as he steals the innocence of a child.


I am from nothing

But I will not BE nothing.

Detention: No Place for Kids

Hey…a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports:

  • Youth prisons do not reduce recidivism
  • Youth prisons waste taxpayer money
  • Youth prisons expose youth to dangerous and abusive conditions

But, the good news:

  • States have reduced their juvenile corrections populations
  • There has been no corresponding increase in juvenile crimes or violence


  • Limit eligibility for correctional placement
  • Invest in promising non-residential alternatives
  • Change the financial incentives for incarcerating youth
  • Adopt best practice reforms for managing youthful offenders
  • Replace large institutions with small, treatment-oriented centers for the dangerous few
  • Use data to hold youth correction systems accountable

View the complete report here:  No Place for Kids:  The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration


Some good news for Washington state…

The good news is that across the time period that this report talks about, Washington state decreased its juvenile detention population by about 600 youth.  And that Washington state is decreasing its occurrence of “maltreatment” of youth.

Recurring Maltreatment of Youth in Detention
Recurring Maltreatment of Youth in Detention

Bible Study Tonight: The Ten Commandments

Tonight, in the Youth Detention Center, we did a Bible study with the boys about the 10 commandments.  We let the youth write their own 10 commandments.  Everybody had to come to consensus on what was an agreeable commandment.  The consensus process was a little challenging, but the youth were great at the process!  I’m going to record as many as I can remember here!  Some were wise…and some were, well, interesting!

  1. Everybody gets what they need (and they work for it)
  2. Honor your elders (attitude)
  3. Obey God
  4. Help the poor
  5. Help the needy
  6. Be fruitful and multiply (but no prostitutes)
  7. Respect life (quite a discussion about what murder is and is not)
  8. Live the life you were given and do the best you can

As you can see, I can’t quite remember them all.  Maybe I’ll come up with them sometime in the middle of the night!

What would be the 10 commandments you would write?