Ben Carr, Seattle-area prosecutor for King County was recently criticized after he presented a juvenile restorative justice program presentation to law enforcement officers. His presentation on “considerations for juvenile suspects” argued that juvenile suspects, even those accused of carrying weapons or guns in school, should be allowed to avoid jail time, with the primary focus being on rehabilitation.

The presentation said, “Even for serious offenses the primary focus will be on rehabilitation,” with “get used to this concept” in parentheses. The fact that the meeting was called to address prosecutors going too easy on criminals did nothing to the main topic presented during the presentation about the juvenile restorative justice program.

Previously several progressive organizers and community leaders have called for a more growth and learning-focused experience for convicts in general, not just juvenile convicts or suspects. However, the idea has not done too well with the conservative side that wants people to get punished for the crimes, no matter the reason behind the crime committed.

The presentation on the juvenile restorative justice program focused on police and prison abolitionists working together on the programs for juvenile criminals to bring them over to the right side. A copy of the presentation was obtained for The Jason Rantz Show on KTTH.

Despite disagreements and barely any nods of approval prosecutor Carr talked about he does not plan on prosecuting many juvenile suspects, based on the Juvenile Justice Act of 1977 which focuses entirely on rehabilitation even for violent felonies in some cases. The main reason behind the presentation not being taken well could be due to people worrying that the rise in crimes is because of prosecutors being too easy and not prosecuting the criminals, even if they are practically teenage kids.

Slide 28 in the presentation focuses on restorative community pathways (RCP) followed by family intervention and diversion that is supposed to help these at-risk youth by making sure they find ways to get out of criminal pathways.

Carr’s spokesperson said, “That phrase was embedded in a slide designed to illustrate the statutory, legal requirement that Washington State juvenile courts prioritize the rehabilitation of youthful offenders,” regarding the “get used to” phrase.

Continuing with, “Since 1977, Washington State Law and judicial holdings have repeatedly mandated that the juvenile justice system must ‘provide for the rehabilitation and reintegration of juvenile offenders.’ The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office agrees with this priority and approach for youthful offenders. Accountability for one’s actions, especially those of a child, can and should include the concept of rehabilitation.”