Graham moving from juvenile detention to jail

Avondre Graham was arrested last fall, accused of killing Sharlotte McGill. When he turns 18 later this month, he'll be getting a change of scenery when the young murder suspect transfers from juvenile hall to the Spokane County Jail.

Right now there are about 30 people locked up in juvenile detention, including Graham, who's being prosecuted as an adult. He's responding well to the structure of the Spokane Detention Center, and will continue to benefit from the protections given to young offenders, at least for the next week or so.

"We are very invested in our work here and fortunate to have a staff very dedicated to helping young people," Mark Lewis at the detention center said.

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In Graham's case it didn't take very long for him to thrive and soon he was climbing the steps on the detention center's honor roll. Kids who misbehave sit in their cell while kids who follow the rules earn small privileges like a deck of cards.

"If you behave appropriately, follow the rules, do what you are supposed to, then can [get] privileges here within the confines of the facility," Lewis said.

When he was allegedly attacking women along the Centennial Trail, Graham wasn't attending his high school. But at the juvenile detention center Graham goes to class every day, where Dan Fuller is one of his teachers. Fuller tries to either keep kids caught up with their regular school or helps them get their GEDs.

"We are fortunate to have instructors who are highly capable, highly skilled, who will take kids, who sometimes are years behind in their education and monumental progress in catching up," Lewis said.

Surprisingly, even the most incorrigible kids respond well to the challenge. Lewis attributes the success to the fact that the juveniles are given every opportunity to succeed.

"You've got caring adults, you've got supportive environment, you've got high accountability, high structure and very clear expectations that are reinforced immediately," he said.

However there is nothing the juvenile staff can do to help Graham avoid the very adult consequences that come with his murder charge which, when he turns 18, will require his transfer out of juvenile detention and over to the jail.

As for the rest of the juveniles in the system, however, two out of every three of the others who do time in the detention center stop breaking the law, sparing future victims and saving Spokane taxpayers money that would otherwise be spent on them as criminal adults.