Creative Justice

Creative Justice is an arts-based alternative to incarceration for young people in King County. Through collaboration with mentor artists, participants consider the root causes of incarceration and focus on the positive role youth voice can have in building a more just and equitable society.

Shontina Vernon - Creative Justice Session 1, 2015. Photo: Tim Aguero.


Although King County has done remarkable work to decrease youth incarceration, not all young people have benefited equally: in 2014, almost 75% of juvenile detention admissions were youth of color. 4Culture and a cohort of community partners developed Creative Justice as an innovative approach to ending racial disproportionality and youth incarceration.

How It Works

Through intensive, 16 week sessions, court-involved youth work with experienced mentor artists to produce original artwork and learn new skills. Learn more about the project, the team, and how we can all work together to reduce reliance on youth incarceration at


In 2015, its pilot year, Creative Justice made a real, lasting impact in the lives of participants. 48 youth learned and created with a lead engagement artist and 4 mentor artists through more than 244 hours of programming. As a result, 31 charges against participants were dropped, and 10 were reduced.