Community forums will address racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice system

Release Date: 
Aug 14 2017
DSHS Office of Communications
Chris Wright
(360) 902-8338

Community Forums will address racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice system

OLYMPIA – Earlier this year, Washington was one of three states awarded a federal grant intended to address racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. The two-year Smart on Juvenile Justice Reform Grant gives the state and its partners a chance to develop a plan that will have a significant impact on the system.

As part of the process, DSHS’s Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJ) will host several community forums to gather opinions and discuss ways to improve the system while promoting public safety. Youth, families and community members are encouraged to attend these events.

When:               Monday, August 14, 4 – 6 p.m.                                       Tuesday, August 15, 5 – 7 p.m.                            

Where:              Rainier Beach Public Library                                          Tacoma Urban League

                           9125 Rainier Ave. South                                                  2550 South Yakima Ave.

                           Seattle, WA 98118                                                            Tacoma, WA 98401

Washington is the number one state in the nation for the detention of status offenders (truancy, runaway, curfew, etc.). Additionally, 50 percent of youth detained in the state’s detention centers are held on property, drug and alcohol offenses. Data shows there are racial and ethnic disparities at every point in our juvenile justice system.

The Smart on Juvenile Justice Strategic Task Force will engage in work groups to examine data and research, discuss policy issues and make recommendations for system reform.

The Smart on Juvenile Justice Reform Planning includes more than 40 institutions, organizations and individuals involved and impacted by the system. The Task Force is chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice Bobbe J. Bridge,the founding CEO and President of the Center for Children & Youth Justice.

The Rehabilitation Administration provides vocational rehabilitation to individuals with disabilities; rehabilitation services to the state’s highest-risk juvenile offenders; and specialized treatment for civilly committed individuals. Partnering with families and communities, the administration’s team of 1,500 serves nearly 23,000 residents on an annual budget of $197 million.  


DSHS does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.