Theresa Wea will be King County Superior Court’s first Equity & Justice Advocate, a new position created this year to address growing racial disproportionalities in the juvenile justice system. She starts on Oct. 5.
Although Superior Court has invested time and resources into addressing racial disproportionality for years, Presiding Judge Susan Craighead said the court needs someone laser-focused on addressing a problem it has yet to see improve.
Wea will work with communities throughout the county to identify what they believe they need in their neighborhoods, then strategize with them about how to get resources where they are needed.
“Theresa is a very impressive woman who is bound to push us to address racial disproportionality in ways we can’t even imagine now,” said Superior Court Presiding Judge Susan Craighead.
Wea comes to the position after dedicating years of work to reducing recidivism in both juvenile and adult justice systems. She’s worked for justice-reform advocacy groups including TeamChild, Northwest Defenders, and Models for Change, an initiative based out of the Center for Children & Youth Justice. She also previously led an effort at the King County Executive’s Office to improve re-entry outcomes for those leaving detention, worked as an attorney at the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and been a legislative assistant at the City of Seattle.
“My dedication as an advocate for youth and commitment to addressing issues of diversity, equal access, and equitable treatment have been ongoing aspects of my personal and professional development,” Wea said. “I look forward to working closely with community and system stakeholders to create effective strategies to address and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the King County juvenile justice system.”