Every one of our youth deserve the support and resources they need to thrive, yet many go without either. As Alexis tells us, when there are no alternative, too often our young people get caught up in the juvenile justice system. Her story shows us the importance of early interventions and alternatives to incarceration for our most vulnerable youth. With our incredible partners at Okanogan County Juvenile Detention, our youth leaders, and allies of youth across the county, we are working hard to create a change. Check out Alexis’s insightful story of strength, family, and recovery. It’s deeply worthy of our attention.
Questions to deepen the discussion:
Alexis tells us that the first time she was incarcerated was for a truancy violation, but her next infractions were for much more serious violations related to addiction. Some innovative programs are working to catch and support youth following, or even before, a first violation. What kinds of supports would have been relevant for Alexis following her first truancy hearing? How could we build those kinds of resources in our county?
Over the past two years, Room One has worked closely with Okanogan Juvenile Detention, running sexual health education classes and weekly Girls Groups within the center. Officials from Juvenile Detention have sat on steering committees and workgroups, including ones aimed at addressing teen pregnancy and youth homelessness - major issues for youth involved in juvenile justice. Over the past ten years, county officials have weighed closing our local juvenile detention center and sending incarcerated youth to a private center outside of Spokane. What would the ripple effect be of closing our center? How would youth be impacted by being transported to a center so far from home?