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Balancing the Scales: Effective Strategies to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Balancing the Scales: Effective Strategies to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Balancing the Scales: Effective Strategies to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System 1

2 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Reduction Tiana Davis, DMC Policy Director Center for Childrens Law and Policy (CCLP) Public interest law and policy organization Focus areas Reduce unnecessary incarceration Improve conditions of confinement Reduce racial and ethnic disparities 2

3 Todays Goals: Background and overview Build a conceptual framework for understanding racial and ethnic disparities and Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system Review CCLPs DMC Action Network approach for reducing racial and ethnic disparities Explore successful strategies implemented by DMC Action Network sites and replication sites Consider DMC implications for Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Collaborations 3

4 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Reduction: Background and Overview Models for Change and the DMC Action Network Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative Connecticut DMC Reduction Initiative Racial and Ethnic Disparities Reduction Project 4

5 Why is this important? Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Fundamental values of fairness and equity Focus on rehabilitation Negative consequences of juvenile justice involvement System efficiency and effectiveness 5

6 Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities: What Are Our Goals? Reduce over-representation of youth of color at key decision points Reduce the disparate treatment of youth of color at key decision points Prevent youth of color from unnecessarily entering and moving through the juvenile justice system 6

7 Overrepresentation 7 Youth Residing in the City of Northeast* Transferred to Adult Court

8 White Black Latino Disparity 8

9 Race/Ethnicity Rate of arrests for a property offense per thousand in 2008 Relative Rate Index (RRI) White youth African American youth Hispanic/Latino youth Disparity Sedgwick County Arrest Rates and Relative Rate Indices for

10 Unnecessary Entry and Penetration Drakewood County Secure Detention Admissions by Top 10 Offenses and Race/Ethnicity for FY

11 What are the common causes of racial and ethnic disparities in juvenile justice? Structural inequalities in our society Policies that are fair on their face but have unintended negative consequences Differential decision-making Differential access to prevention and treatment Accumulated disadvantage Complex interactions with other child- serving systems 11

12 An effective effort to reduce racial and ethnic disparities is not... A research project An attempt to solve the problems of racism and poverty An exercise in blame – e.g., kids, parents, the community, music, television, the media A game of gotcha – e.g., finger pointing at public officials A way to reinforce the abuse excuse– e.g., poor, single-parent home, bad neighborhood, etc. An attempt to gain more lenient treatment for youth of color than other youth An invitation to level the playing field by arresting or detaining more white youth A magic bullet – e.g., expecting to know how to solve the issue by sending leaders and staff to cultural competence and diversity training 12

13 Data-driven Locally-driven with state level support Collaborative Intentional about changing the systems impact on youth and communities of color Focused on system response Policy Practice Programs Focused on measurable outcomes Effective efforts for reducing disparities are: 13

14 Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Planning for Reform Guiding Principles for DMC Reform: Use data to inform policy, practice and program development Divert youth from formal system involvement and unnecessary system penetration when consistent with public safety. Serve youth in the community, or in the least restrictive environment required to meet the youths supervision and service needs Ensure that youth of color have comparable access to opportunities for diversion as white youth Employ objective decision-making criteria and standardize case processing to increase fairness and equity Improve accountability at all levels of the system 14

15 Arrest: Police Schools Probation Referral: Intake staff Detention: Judge Transfer to adult court Petition: Prosecutor Adjudication: Judge Disposition : Judge Diversion Community service Diversion Informal process Straight Release Alternative to detention (least restrictive) Diversion Dismissal Release Probation Community- based treatment Residential placement Enhancing Diversion Opportunities for Youth of Color 15

16 Percentage of Minorities at Each Stage: Alachua County FY Source: Florida Department of Juvenile Justice FY DMC Benchmark Report

17 Model for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Engage Stakeholders in Governing Body Map Decision Points Gather and Analyze Data: Quantitative & Qualitative Focus on Key Decision Points where Measurable Change Can Occur Plan Strategic Interventions Implement Change Evaluate Whether Goals are Met 17

18 Data Practices DMC Data Template DMC Performance Measures Race and Ethnicity Data Collection-Two-Question Format Language Preference Data Collection Culture and Community Strategic Community Engagement Cultural Responsiveness and Linguistic Competence Form Translation Arrests and Pre- Adjudication Arrest Diversion Protocols and Programs School-Based Conflict Resolution and Discipline Police and Youth Training Curriculum Objective Detention Risk Screening Alternatives to Secure Detention Post- Adjudication Graduated Responses Protocol and Matrix for Probation and Community Supervision Community-based Treatment Alternatives Strategic Innovations for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities 18

19 What We Know: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice and Mental Health Youth of color are one-third to one-half less likely to receive mental health care as white youth (Holm-Hansen, 2006). Among youth of color in contact with the juvenile justice system, nearly two thirds of males and nearly three-quarters of females meet diagnostic criteria for one or more disorders (Teplin, Abram, McClelland, Dulcan, & Mericle, 2002). A Tennessee survey of 600 minority youth in custody revealed that 52 percent met diagnostic criteria for at least one disorder; but only 14 percent were referred to a mental health professional (Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth, Study of DMC, 2012). 19

20 Arrest: Police Schools Probation Referral: Intake staff Detention: Judge Transfer to adult court Petition: Prosecutor Adjudication: Judge Disposition : Judge Diversion Community Service MH/SA TX Diversion Informal process MH/SA TX Straight Release Detention Alternative MH/SA TX Diversion Dismissal MH/SA TX Dismissal Release MH/SA TX Probation Community- based MH/SA TX Residential MH/SA TX Enhancing Diversion Opportunities for Youth of Color: Key Points for Mental Health Intervention 20

21 Mental Health and Juvenile Justice: Considerations for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Cornerstone 1: Collaboration* Multisystem Traditional and non-traditional stakeholder involvement Planning body reflects population served Collaboration required at all levels of planning and implementation Clergy Service Providers Advocates Defense Attorneys Youth Judges Probation Parents Police Prosecutors School Systems Adapted from Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System- NCMHJJ,

22 Mental Health and Juvenile Justice: Considerations for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Cornerstone 2: Identification Evaluate system data to identify need by: Race, ethnicity, gender, age, geography Type and level of behavioral health need Data improvements may be necessary Adopt: Race neutral behavioral health screening and assessment tools Race neutral risk screening and assessment tools Clear and objective policy and practice guidance that separates behavioral health needs from risk Adapted from Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System- NCMHJJ,

23 Mental Health and Juvenile Justice: Considerations for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Cornerstone 3: Diversion Objective criteria for diversion to behavioral health services Equal consideration for diversion opportunities Objective requirements for youth participation in programs Supervisory review and accountability for diversion decisions Adapted from Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System- NCMHJJ,

24 Mental Health and Juvenile Justice: Considerations for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Cornerstone 4: Treatment Equal access to diversion treatment services Cultural responsiveness and language accessibility of treatment models and treatment staff Effectiveness of treatment services for youth of color Developmentally and culturally appropriate incentives to motivate youth Culturally responsive supports to facilitate family involvement Sensitivity and responsiveness to trauma histories common among system- involved youth Clearly defined and equally applied consequences for failure to comply with program requirements Clear and objective guidelines for treatment providers Objective program completion and exit criteria Monitor and address issues related to arrests of youth in residential treatment Adapted from Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System- NCMHJJ,

25 Mental Health Innovations from the DMC Action Network: Pierce County, Washingtons Specialized Functional Family Therapy Caseload Pierce County had an array of evidence-based practices available for youth, but less than half of African-American youth who were referred to FFT successfully engaged with the program The County identified a therapist who would focus on the cultural responsiveness of the program and who would work with a specialized caseload of twelve youth and families with the highest needs Engagement rates almost doubled (45% to 83%) within the first few months of implementation 25

26 Final Thoughts We encourage Mental Health/Juvenile Justice collaboration teams to: Adopt an intentional focus on how your collaboration can have an impact on racial and ethnic disparities. Apply the lens of race and ethnicity to your planning efforts to maximize impact. Questions 26

27 Contact Information Tiana Davis DMC Policy Director x


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