A look inside the King County Juvenile Detention Center. File photo

A look inside the King County Juvenile Detention Center. File photo

Early data suggests program can reduce recidivism in King County

Restorative Community Pathways for youth offenders contrasts with traditional prosecution.

Restorative Community Pathways (RCP), King County’s restorative justice program for youth offenders has shown promising results less than a year into its operation, Executive Dow Constantine said.

“Restorative Community Pathways is an evidence and community-based program to help change a youth’s behavior, reducing crime and creating a better future for themselves, their families, and our community,” said Executive Constantine.

The program diverts low-level first-time youth offenders from the traditional prison system and instead connects the child with community organizations that work with the child to address the underlying issues that caused the bad behavior.

In addition to providing support to the offender, RCP offers an equal amount of resources and support for the victims of crimes, something the traditional justice system fails to do.

“Critically, RCP also provides equal resources and support to victims,” King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg said. “In study after study, children prosecuted in juvenile court achieve less success and do more harm than comparable youth who have been diverted out of the formal court system.”

Restorative justice practices like those employed by RCP have been proven to reduce recidivism rates and the harm caused by imprisoning children. In December 2021, mayors from Auburn, Renton, Federal Way and Kent spoke out against RCP and called for a moratorium on the program.

Chief among the mayors’ concerns was that diverting kids who were charged with felonies would make their communities less safe. Early data suggests the opposite could be true. Data collected between Nov. 1, 2021, and Aug. 18, 2022, shows kids who went through RCP were less likely to re-offend than those who went through the courts.

Of the 145 kids who participated in RCP during that time period, 12 or 8% had new case referrals, according to data from the prosecuting attorney’s office. During the same time period, 223 kids went through the traditional prosecution process and of those 223, 47 or 21% re-offended.

In other words, kids who went through the traditional jail and court systems were more than two times as likely to re-offend compared to kids who went through RCP during that 10-month period. Kids who were incarcerated in state prisons between 2011 -2018 had a recidivism rate of 49-58% annually, according to data from the State Department of Children, Youth and Families.

“King County has historically proven that diversion works to reduce juvenile crime, and that’s exactly what RCP aims to do,” Satterberg said. “As part of RCP, youth are able to connect to services and interventions aimed at repairing the harm that they caused and reducing their likelihood of reoffending.”

Evaluation of RCP is ongoing to determine how effective the program is for creating positive outcomes for youth offenders and the harmed parties as well as its impact on public safety in the county, according to the executive’s office.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

t
One of two victims identified in fiery Kent crash

Kristen Anne Meyers, 53, died in May 11 crash on West Hill, according to medical examiner

t
City-owned ShoWare Center in Kent loses $742,675 in 2023

Losses lower than projected but expenses continue to exceed revenue at 6,200-seat arena

t
Kent firefighters extinguish two fires on the same morning | Photos

Friday, May 17 at apartment leasing office in the Valley and at a vacant East Hill house

Courtesy Photo, City of Kent
City of Kent population drops by 1,051 in 2023 compared to 2022

Decline similar to many cities of 50,000 or more across the nation, according to U.S. Census Bureau

t
Kent Police Blotter: April 25 to May 8

Incidents include burglaries, robberies, shootings

t
Rape charges dismissed against former Kent school bus driver

Prosecutors decide they could not prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt due to medical tests

t
Feds indict 9 South King County residents on drug trafficking charges

Those accused from Federal Way, Kent, Renton, Enumclaw

A screenshot of King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn speaking about a proposed amendment for the proposed $20 minimum wage ordinance. (Screenshot)
King County approves $20.29 minimum wage for unincorporated areas

Councilmember Reagan Dunn and more than a dozen business owners argued tips and health care expenses should be a part of the new wage. The council passed the ordinance without the amendment.

Dave Upthegrove. COURTESY PHOTO
Upthegrove one of seven candidates for state lands commissioner

His King County Council member’s district includes part of Kent

COURTESY PHOTO, King County Elections
Candidates file for Kent-area races for Congress, Legislature

Incumbents face challengers in two Congressional contests and four state House races

t
Two die in single-car crash in Kent on West Hill

Sedan crashed Saturday evening, May 11 into tree and caught fire in 2400 block of South 272nd Street

t
Spanaway man, 25, faces murder charge in Kent bar shooting

Reportedly shot Federal Way man, 30, eight times inside Meeker Street Bar & Grill