PENNSYLVANIA’SAPPROACH TO DMC “Improving Community/Law Enforcement Relationships Through Dialogue Forums” 11th Annual DMC Conference: Law Enforcement Solutions for Reducing Racial Disparities & Disproportionate Minority Contact in Juvenile Justice September 7-10, 2006 New Orleans, Louisiana
PENNSYLVANIA’S APPROACH TO DMC “Improving Community/Law Enforcement Relationships Through Dialogue Forums” • Targeted Sites: • Dauphin County: City of Harrisburg • Allegheny County: City of Pittsburgh • Berks County: City of Reading • Philadelphia County: City of Philadelphia
Dauphin County: Harrisburg Arlene Prentice Juvenile Court Consultant Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission
Pennsylvania *Black – 13.9% *White – 78.5% Hispanic – 5.4% *Asian – 2.1% Dauphin County *Black – 24.9% *White – 66.3% Hispanic – 6.5% *Asian – 2.2% DAUPHIN COUNTY2004 Population Data – Youth 10-17 * Non-Hispanic
DISPROPORTIONATE MINORITY CONTACT STATEWIDE: In 2004, Black Non-Hispanic youth represented 13.9% of the total youth population,yet accounted for: • 36.9% of all Delinquency Dispositions • 31.1% of Probation Dispositions • 37.5% of Placements (41.6% of secure) • 41.3% of Transfers to Criminal Court
DISPROPORTIONATE MINORITY CONTACT Dauphin County: 2004 Juvenile Court Delinquency Dispositions *Black *WhiteHispanic *Asian 56.3% 31.1% 10.5% 0.0% Dauphin County: Black Non-Hispanic youth represent 24.9% of the youth population in 2004, yet represent 56.3% of all Delinquency Dispositions
Allegheny County: Pittsburgh Kimberly Booth Assistant Administrator Allegheny County Juvenile Probation Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
By Race and Gender MaleFemale 1,012 Black 3,204 Black 1,642 White 471 White 6 Other 3 Other In 2005, the Detention Center had 1,954 new, non-duplicated admissions; 78% of these admissions were African Americans. Allegheny County has 119 Police Departments; the City of Pittsburgh has the largest in the County. 2005 Referrals to Allegheny County Juvenile Probation = 6,338
How to Hold a Forum • Our first forum was held on Friday, November 12, 2004 • 125 Youth • 25 Law Enforcement • 20 Adults • All in various fields—including our Judge Cheryl Allen • 3 Consecutive Sessions • Police and Relationships (roleplays) • Legal Analysis (survey) • Video • What to do when stopped by police—referred to as “Good Stop/Bad Stop”
Survey Questions • In general, people fear small groups of black youth who are simply hanging around, laughing and playing rap music.
Survey Questions • It is OK to smoke “blunts” in public because it is not anyone’s business.
Survey Questions • It is OK to drive or operate a motor vehicle without it being properly inspected as long as the car runs and is safe.
Survey Questions • The police have always focused their attention on minorities and/or youth.
Survey Questions • It is OK to carry a firearm for safety when I am out in the community.
Berks County: Reading Reading Yvonne Stroman Director of Community Partnership Programs Community Prevention Partnership of Berks County
Berks County Historical Context • Located in Southeastern Pennsylvania. • Has geographic areas of urban, suburban and rural areas. • Situated along known corridors with easy access to Philadelphia, New York City, Harrisburg, Baltimore and Washington D.C. – all within 3 hours or less travel time. • Regarded by law enforcement as a thoroughfare for drug trafficking and gangs. • City of Reading is the County Seat of Berks County. • Has approximately 82,000 residents living in the City. • Within the last 15 years, Reading has experienced an increasing culturally diverse area with a large and growing Hispanic population. 37% of the residents are Latino; 12% are African American; 2% Asian American and 46% White. • Approximately 70% of the students attending the public schools are Latino.
More Historical Context • The leadership of the City of Reading is not representative of the diverse culture. • Only 1 out of 7 persons on City Council is a person of color. • Only 3 out of 9 persons on the Reading School Board are of color. • There are no judges of color serving on the bench. • Only 1 out of 5 District Magistrates is a person of color. • Of the 209 police officers working in the City of Reading, less than 20 are persons of color. • The number of persons of color employed in the areas of juvenile probation and youth detention centers are low in proportion to the number of minority youth involved in the system.
Reading Forum 2005 • Target minority youth, law enforcement, school administration, community leaders, faith based leaders, civic groups, attorneys and politicians. • Purpose – To address the relationship that exists between minority youth and law enforcement in the City of Reading. • Format – Panel Discussion, Break Out Sessions, strategies and Reporting Back to the large group. • Forum was attended by approximately 125 persons. • Youth were asked to complete a questionnaire that gave their perspective on certain situations. • Youth who attended the forum had previous experiences or interactions with law enforcement.
Reading Forum 2006 • A second forum was conducted due to feedback youth gave from the questionnaire. • It was necessary to have a second forum to include parents. • Community buy-in and collaboration was key for the event to take place. • We connected with the schools for information dissemination. • We tailored the 2nd Forum to the first one to include panel discussion and break out sessions. • Good and positive dialogue occurred during the panel discussion and we did not have the break out sessions.
Next Steps • Continue to have forums or other venues where we can bring youth and law enforcement together. • Include parents and community. • Work with other entities who seek the same outcomes. • Community collaboration and buy-in is key to implement strategies.
PENNSYLVANIA COMMISSION ON CRIME AND DELINQUENCY(PCCD) DMC SUBCOMMITTEE’S PHILADELPHIA WORKING GROUP PHILADELPHIA MINORITY YOUTH – LAW ENFORCEMENT RELATIONS POLICY Robert Listenbee, Esq. Chief of the Juvenile Unit for the Defender Association of Philadelphia Deputy Sheriff Paris Washington
Who We Are THE PHILADELPHIA WORKING GROUP • 5 Youth Members • 7 Law Enforcement Officers • Philadelphia Housing Authority Police • Philadelphia Mass Transit Police • Philadelphia Police • Philadelphia School District Police • Philadelphia Sheriff • Behavioral Health Consultant • Department of Human Services • District Attorney • Public Defender • School District Representatives • Juvenile Court Representative • Philadelphia Faith-Based Initiative Leaders • The Mayor’s Office • Local University Professor & Author
Philadelphia Philadelphia: • Minority youth were disproportionately charged in adult criminal courts. For example, African-American youth accounted for approximately 7 out of 10 felony arrests, but represented 8 out of 10 felony arrests in criminal court. • While 67% of Caucasian youth received a sentence of incarceration, 88% of African-American youth received a sentence of incarceration.
Mission Statement We aim to identify and develop concrete, viable and measurable strategies that will improve the relationship between ethnic minority youth and members of law enforcement. We believe that improving this relationship will lead to less volatile interaction and the cultivation of a spirit of mutual cooperation that will benefit minority youth, law enforcement and our entire community.
The Problem “Are police more aggressive because the youth are confrontational, or are the youth more confrontational because officers tend to be more aggressive to minority youth?” ~ Philadelphia Youth-Law Enforcement Forum November, 2004
The Findings The FINDINGS represent the opinions on Minority Youth– Law Enforcement Relations as expressed by Philadelphia’s youth and law enforcement agents over an 18 month period.
The Findings 1.YOUTH WANT MORE RESPECT FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT. They do not want law enforcement officers to assume they are doing something bad because of the way they are dressed. They would like the officers to be less aggressive in their approach and they want them to know that when they pull up to the corner fast and jump out, the youth often run because they are scared, not because they are guilty.
The Findings 2.MANY YOUTH HAVE HAD POSITIVE EXPERIENCES WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT where officers have given them good advice, acted as positive role models and were very polite when taking reports.
The Findings 3.ACCORDING TO YOUTH, LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS MAKE THEM FEEL UNEASY when they are disrespectful; when they do not believe what the youth are saying; when they use their power to mistreat youth; when they behave like racists; or when they really don’t care and assume that all youth, especially those in poor communities, are guilty.
The Findings 4.MANYYOUTH ARE CONCERNED THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS STOP THEM BECAUSE OF THE CLOTHES THEY WEAR. For example, youth dressed in dark pants and white t-shirts feel thatthey are often “checked” whenever there are near a crime scene. During the winter months, youth wearing “walrus coats”, which have many pockets, feel that they are often stopped and searched by law enforcement officers because they “look suspicious”.
The Findings 5.MOST YOUTH DO NOT HAVE A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO RESPOND WHEN THEY ARE STOPPED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS in schools, on SEPTA trains, on public housing property and on the streets of Philadelphia. They also do not know how to file complaints when they feel their rights have been violated.
The Findings 6. LAW ENFORCEMENT WOULD LIKE YOUTH TO KNOW THAT NOT ALL OF THEM DO BAD THINGS. They want youth to have more respect for the law and the officers who enforce it. They would also like youth to remember that they are people, just like them. They have families they want to go home to every night. They want to be respected like normal people. They also want youth to understand that at times they make mistakes.
The Findings 7. LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS ALSO WANT YOUTH TO KEEP IN MIND THAT THEY HAVE A JOB TO DO, AND THEY MUST DO IT.
The Findings 8. YOUTH MAKE MANY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS FEEL UNEASY by their threatening postures, confrontational attitudes and their failure to respond to the reasonable demands of law enforcement—such as: “move off the corner”, “stop playing cards on the corner” or “stop rolling dice on the sidewalks.” .