Local sites and partners
In addition to local jurisdictions that are already active in the four Models for Change core states, DMC Action Network members include other sites selected for measurable accomplishments in reducing disproportionate minority contact.
The twelve DMC Action Network sites representing 8 states are listed below with along with highlights on their DMC-related achievements in 2008.
Peoria County introduced restorative justice practices in the schools after data showed a high number of school referrals to secure detention. Officials implemented Peer Juries and Peacemaking Circles, allowing youth to participate in the problem solving process. Reports show a resulting 35% decrease in referrals to detention from the schools, and a 43% drop in referrals of African-American students.
Sedgwick County data show that their use of objective detention screening, alternatives to detention and detention advocacy with case management has produced a 45% reduction in secure detention days. Part of this reduction appears as improvements in the Relative Rate Index for African American youth, which has fallen from 4.16 in 2006 to 3.49 as of mid-year 2008.
Jefferson Parish has made updates to a number of juvenile justice forms -- the AS-400 Juvenile Court database, the Rivarde Q & A detention database, and other data collection tools -- in order to collect the race and ethnicity of juveniles separately. This allows for more accurate data from various decision points in determining the extent of DMC in the system. In addition, the Detention Screening Tool has been tested and validated and has been in full implementation since September 1,2008. As a result of the development and implementation of the tool, the detention population has decreased by 25%.
In Rapides Parish, key system stakeholders met over a five-month period to develop their Detention Screening Instrument (DSI). They discussed the purpose of detention, the alleged offense(s), prior offenses, prior or current probation supervision, prier failure to appear in court and runaway behavior. Stakeholders are currently testing and validating the resulting tool in collaboration with the University of New Orleans. Since July 1, 2008, the DSI has guided decisions about whether a juvenile goes to a secure facility, a detention alternative, or released to a parent or guardian.
Baltimore City's Pre-Adjudication Coordination and Training (PACT) Center was developed as a community-based alternative to detention following a Detention Utilization Study which indicated that 60% of youth admitted to secure detention had a risk assessment score that indicated they could be either released to parents or placed in an alternative to detention. The PACT program provides intensive supervision, comprehensive needs assessments and resource planning. In their first program year, 95% of PACT participants presented for their court hearings and 93% of participants did not receive additional charges while they were in the program.
Union County analyzed juvenile justice data to identify the need for more information about language and ethnicity. They are now implementing a race and ethnicity questionnaire for all youth at intake. The questionnaire allows system partners to plan for interpreter services and bilingual staffing needs. In addition, the local juvenile justice agency will assist youth-serving programs to translate common forms into Spanish and will conduct cultural competence trainings and community forums with several programs in the upcoming year. They are also collaborating with Winston Salem State University Center for Community Safety to develop and analyze a graduated sanctions grid.
Allegheny County has partnered with the National Center for Juvenile Justice to conduct a study on Failures to Adjust in post dispositional placements, to determine whether there are racial disparities in placement decisions or treatments provided and to understand how placements can better meet the needs of adjudicated youth.
Berks County has validated and implemented a detention screening instrument which has helped reduce the average daily detention population by 40%. The average length of stay for Latino youth has been reduced by 32% and by 50% for African American youth since 2007. In addition, Berks County has collaborated with stakeholders and program staff from other jurisdictions to design and implement a new Evening Reporting Center which opened in December, 2008. Combined with ongoing development of a graduated sanctions grid, local officials expect the ERC to further reduce the number of referrals to secure detention for youth of color who violate probation.
The Philadelphia Working Group of the DMC Subcommittee of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency has worked with the Philadelphia Family Court, Philadelphia Juvenile Probation, the Defender Association of Philadelphia and the District Attorney's Office to develop a system of graduated sanctions to address youth who violate probation. They implemented the Graduated Sanctions Court (GSC) in July, 2008. A special steering committee oversees the GSC. Philadelphia has also continued to modify and expand the Youth - Law Enforcement curriculum in the Police Academy, which includes four modules of cadet training and one module of direct contact with youth. The youth participants will be identified from local high schools targeted to participate in Forums and from community programs throughout the city.
The Benton/Franklin Juvenile Court (BFJC) has identified the need to implement community engagement strategies. They collaborated with the University of Washington to complete a community "needs assessment survey" to capture the needs and concerns of the community on issues related to juvenile justice. Also, BFJC is developing a focus group process for African American youth assigned to probation, and another for parents and guardians. The intent is to begin to understand the needs, challenges and concerns for youth of color and their families and create opportunities for members of the African American community to participate in DMC reduction activities.
Pierce County analyzed probation violation data to identify the need for cultural competence in its Functional Family Therapy (FFT) evidence-based program. As a result, local officials implemented a specialized caseload to address the needs of youth of color in the program, using a combination of specialized case management, cultural competence training and staff diversity to engage youth and their families. The number of youth who engaged in the program nearly doubled from 45% in 2007 to 83% as of October 2008. This is expected to have positive impact on African American youth by reducing probation violations due to non-compliance with court ordered FFT.
Rock County has implemented the evidence-based Aggression Replacement Training (ART) as a detention diversion following data analysis of key decision points to target for intervention and DMC reduction. ART has resulted in a 61% increase in the number of youth of color diverted from detention and referred to the program. In addition, targeted advocacy and policy reform have helped reduce the number of African-American youth waived to the adult criminal justice system by half since 2006.