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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Accused 'Jungle' Shooters Did Not Qualify For Juvenile Parole

Elliott Back
Wikimedia Commons -
A view of Downtown Seattle from the western slope of Beacon Hill known as 'The Jungle.'

Two of the three brothers accused in last week’s fatal shooting at a Seattle homeless encampment have juvenile records. But neither qualified for supervised parole after they were released from juvenile lock-up.

Records show the oldest brother served time in a state juvenile facility in 2013 for robbery and theft. The middle brother was released just last October after serving a sentence for robbery and attempted theft. But neither was required to check in with a parole officer.

John Clayton, the head of Washington’s Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, said had the brothers qualified for parole, they likely wouldn’t have been living on the streets with their mother.

“We would have been very diligent in working with that family to get them in a situation where they were not homeless,” Clayton said.

Clayton believes the lack of parole services results in more juvenile crime. These days only the highest risk juvenile offenders receive supervised parole. That’s because of budget cuts and policy changes. Studies have shown that parole alone doesn’t pay off. But parole plus evidence-based interventions has proven effective.

The teens, who have not been formally charged, are accused of going with their younger brother to the encampment known as “The Jungle” to settle a drug debt on behalf of their mother. The shooting left two people dead and three injured.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."