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Juvenile inmates in King County to be moved to Youth Services Center instead of Kent jail

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an Executive Order on Thursday to move those youths from Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent to the Youth Services Center in Seattle.{ } (Photo: KOMO News)

SEATTLE - Starting next year, juvenile offenders under 18 years old, who have been charged as adults in King County, will be sent to a youth jail - instead of being held in solitary confinement.

King County Executive Dow Constantine signed an Executive Order on Thursday to move those juvenile inmates from Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent to the Youth Services Center in Seattle.

According to a the County Executive's website - by state law, 16- or 17-year-olds are automatically charged as an adult if they are charged with a violent offense such as murder, manslaughter, rape or other crimes. In certain circumstances, the juvenile, the prosecutor or the court may make a motion to transfer the juvenile to adult criminal prosecution.

Constantine said the youth jail will have more age-appropriate programs and services.

The Executive Order called for no youth inmates to be housed at the Maleng Regional Justice Center by March 1, 2018, except under emergency situations.

As of Oct. 26, five youth have been transferred. 15 youth currently remain at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

The move comes a week after four families filed a lawsuit against the county for putting their underage sons in solitary confinement.


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