Senait brown has spent her career fighting against racial injustice. She’s cochair of Ending the Prison Industrial Complex (EPIC), political action chair for the Seattle–King County NAACP and community coordinator for the City of Seattle’s Race and Social Justice Initiative. Most recently, she’s been a leading voice against the proposed new King County Children and Family Justice Center (colloquially known as the youth jail), organizing protests, shutting down City Council meetings, and confronting Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine over their support of the jail. The group has won concessions, including a reduction in the number of beds in the new facility and a commitment from Constantine to endorse a vision called “Zero Youth Detention.”
While the debate over the youth detention center continues, Brown and other activists are promoting alternatives to incarceration, such as “restorative justice circles,” which are facilitated conversations between victims and offenders. Community-based intervention and diversion programs like these could be the key to a future in which no child sleeps behind bars.
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