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Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Berks County, PA Coalition for Juvenile Justice May 4, 2009 Agenda Background on Models for Change and DMC Berks County’s data-driven approach Community Collaboration Detention Reduction Placement Reduction Where we’re headed Models for Change

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reducing racial and ethnic disparities in berks county pa

Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Berks County, PA

Coalition for Juvenile Justice

May 4, 2009

agenda
Agenda
  • Background on Models for Change and DMC
  • Berks County’s data-driven approach
  • Community Collaboration
  • Detention Reduction
  • Placement Reduction
  • Where we’re headed
models for change
Models for Change
  • Initiative of the John D. and Catherine T.

Macarthur Foundation

  • The goal is to create a new wave of juvenile

justice reform by producing system-wide change

in multiple states that others will learn from and

emulate.

  • Four core states, PA, IL, LA and WA.
  • Three Action Networks have added 12 more

partner states.

dmc reduction work supported by models for change
DMC Reduction Work Supported by Models for Change
  • 8 counties and parishes in MfC core states
  • DMC Action Network
    • 12 sites, expanding in four new states
    • Peer exchange of ideas and strategies
    • Work in Strategic Innovation Groups
    • Common data collection and reporting
    • Detailed Performance Measures
dmc reduction goals
DMC Reduction Goals
  • Reduce overrepresentation
  • Reduce racial and ethnic disparities
  • Prevent youth of color from

unnecessarily entering and moving

deeper into the juvenile justice system.

work to reduce racial and ethnic disparities is not about
Work to reduce racial and ethnic disparities is not about:
  • A research project
  • Solving the problems of racism or poverty
  • The Blame Game – kids, parents, the community,

music videos, television, the media, “the system”

  • “Gotcha” or finger pointing at public officials
  • The Abuse Excuse – poor, broken home, bad

neighborhood, etc.

  • Holding youth of color less accountable
why do racial and ethnic disparities occur
Why do racial and ethnic disparities occur?
  • Structural inequalities and inequities in our society
  • Differential offending rates
  • Juvenile justice policies that are fair on their face

but have unintended negative consequences

  • Police responses to crime
  • Location of offenses
why do racial and ethnic disparities occur cont
Why do racial and ethnic disparities occur? (cont.)
  • Conscious or unconscious use of

racial/ethnic stereotypes

  • Policy based on anecdote or “gut feeling”
  • Inertia
  • Failure to use data to drive decisions
  • Failure to include all stakeholders in policy decisions
how do we reduce racial and ethnic disparities
How do we reduce racial and ethnic disparities?
  • Develop oversight body of all stakeholders
  • Closely map juvenile justice process from first

contact

  • Analyze data at all stages of the juvenile justice

system

  • Identify gaps in the data and improve data

availability and accuracy

how do we reduce racial and ethnic disparities cont
How do we reduce racial and ethnic disparities? (cont.)
  • Identify specific decision points where racial or

ethnic disparities exist or there is unnecessary

youth contact with the juvenile justice system

  • Create interventions to reduce disparities or

unnecessary involvement

  • Monitor implementation
models for change statewide dmc work in pennsylvania
Models for Change Statewide DMC work in Pennsylvania
  • Collaborate with existing DMC Subcommittee of

the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime

and Delinquency and its local committees.

  • Statewide guidance for race and ethnicity

data collection.

  • Work with Juvenile Court Judges’ Commission to

improve cultural competence of service providers.

berks county at a glance
Berks County at a Glance
  • Total population: 401,149
  • Juvenile Population (ages 10 to 17): 43,844
  • Includes City of Reading
  • Berks County Latino population: 12%
  • Berks County African-American pop: 5%
  • Reading School District Latino enrollment: 73%
  • Reading School District Af-Am enrollment: 13%
berks county juvenile justice at a glance
Berks County Juvenile Justice at a Glance
  • Youth Referred to Juvenile Court 2008: 1192
  • Race and Ethnicity of Youth Referred 2008:
    • Hispanic/Latino 503 (42%)
    • White Non-Hisp. 482 (40%)
    • Black Non-Hisp. 192 (16%)
    • Other 15 (1%)
berks county racial and ethnic disparities reduction project
Berks County Racial and EthnicDisparities Reduction Project
  • Began project November 2005
  • Steering Committee first met Spring 2006
  • Qualitative and quantitative data collection
    • Data from available sources
    • File reviews for new information
    • Court and probation observations
    • Visits to schools, detention center and services
    • Interviews with wide range of stakeholders
berks county project cont
Berks County Project, cont.
  • Active steering committee, under leadership of

Judge Arthur Grim

  • Progressive leadership in Juvenile Probation
  • Stakeholders interested in and committed to reform
  • Formed task forces to address major areas

of interest

detention
Detention
  • Developed Detention Assessment Instrument to

guide probation officer decisions about detention.

  • Developed first pre-adjudication Evening Reporting

Center in the Commonwealth.

  • The results: a 45% drop in Average Daily Population

in detention.

detention assessment instrument
Detention Assessment Instrument
  • Based on models from around the country
  • Refined and tested with consultant David Steinhart
  • Adjusted policy and practice based on his suggestions
    • Mandatory detentions for car theft contributed to

overrepresentation of Latinos in detentions under

DAI – policy eliminated.

    • Discretionary overrides were 40% of DAI detentions –

staff hadn’t fully bought in.

    • First quarter 2009 discretionary overrides down to 14.5%.
slide26

Proportion of discretionary overrides by race and ethnicity compared with representation in the detention population – shows that discretionary decisions by POs were implemented without disparity

bench warrants
Bench Warrants
  • During Steinhart test period, 22% of youth

detained under DAI were for bench warrants

  • Now bench warrants represent 12% of

detained youth

  • Theory: better and more in-home services

mean youth aren’t absconding from

placement or home as much

youth detained under dai
Youth Detained under DAI

* Mandatory overrides for absconds from home, failure to appear in court, detainers, firearms, placement failures, EM removal

evening reporting center
Evening Reporting Center
  • Visited Chicago, Pittsburgh, Baltimore
  • Bids from two invited service providers
  • Opened doors late December 2008
  • Located in 19604, one of most represented zip codes
  • Bright, sunny former catering hall houses day

treatment rest of the day; beautiful gym

  • Starter funding from MacArthur Foundation

but state funding begins July 1, 2009

detention reductions
Detention Reductions
  • Have allowed us to:
    • Eliminate 24 of 72 detention beds
    • Enlarge PREP, a post-adjudication local

residential program

    • More PREP beds mean youth can return from

out-of-county placements sooner for re-entry

    • Re-establish shelter care
placement reductions
Placement Reductions
  • Introduced MST August 2007
  • Program now has 6 therapists, 2 bilingual
  • Therapists each serve 6 kids at a time
  • Served 68 families so far
  • 83% of MST clients who completed the program

did not recidivate and avoided further incarceration

importance of philosophy
Importance of Philosophy
  • Commitment to reduce out of county placements.
  • Jeff must approve all placements.
  • Management reinforces community-based

philosophy.

  • At current rate, placement in 2009 is on track for

a drop of 42% since 2007.

  • Violators of probation represented 38% of placements

in 2007, but now represent 30%.

berks county out of home placements of committed youth
Berks County Out of Home Placements of Committed Youth

*2009 projections based on data available

through April 27, 2009.

placements by race and ethnicity
Placements by Race and Ethnicity

*2009 projections based on data available

through April 27, 2009.

where berks county is headed
Where Berks County is headed
  • Graduated sanctions for probation violators
  • Examination of MST referrals
  • Post-adjudication longer-term treatment ERC
  • YouthBuild
  • Work with Reading School District on Positive

Behavioral Supports, closer examination of

alternative schools and discipline

slide41

Contact Us:

Jeff Gregro, Assistant ChiefBerks County Juvenile Probation OfficePhone: (610) 478-3200, ext. 6407Email: jgregro@countyofberks.comJoseph Guillama, Site Coordinator Racial and Ethnic Disparities Reduction Project Phone: (610) 898-9688 Email: jguillama@hotmail.comLaurie Hague, Assistant ChiefBerks County Juvenile Probation OfficePhone: (610) 478-3200, ext. 6429Email: lhague@countyofberks.comDana Shoenberg, Senior Staff AttorneyCenter for Children’s Law and PolicyPhone: (202) 637-0377 ext.107Email: dshoenberg@cclp.org