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African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

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Working with Police The OJJDP data over the last 20 years clearly shows arrests have the largest level of minority overrepresentation, however OJJDP formula grants don't affect police departments because they are funded through other sources that don't have DMC components. A local police department doesn't have as much incentive to work on DMC reduction efforts as other entities that get OJJDP formula grants, experts say. It's often difficult for states to build relationships and work with police departments to gain enough trust to allow them to go in and study the issue, said Michael J. Leiber, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida and the former chair of Iowa’s DMC Committee. That's why many of the studies of the DMC mandate have not included police and focus instead on the courts, he added. "It's up to the police to say I'll let you in," Leiber said. "I'm not defending the police, but they are jumped on all the time for police brutality and racial profiling. They're sensitive about people coming in to study them and feel they would be attacked. For a researcher to get in is very difficult." OJJDP has recognized that there is a need to focus on the front part of the system, DMC Coordinator Coleman said. It was only until 2002, when the law was broadened to disproportionate minority contact, that OJJDP was able to legally address arrests, she added. Prior to that their efforts were focused on correctional facilities. Coleman cites an example in Connecticut where the state has looked at DMC arrests since 2005 and developed a training curriculum for patrol officers. Police departments who sent officers to get certified in the training would then be eligible to apply for OJJDP formula grants for police and youth community service projects. The state has seen a 40 percent reduction in black youth arrests since 2006, she said. "It's only been in probably the last three years that states have really started to concentrate looking at disproportionality in arrests," Coleman said. "I think over the next several years, we'll start to see those numbers come down at the front part of the system. "It's impossible to know the exact amount of government funds that have gone toward reducing DMC since 1988 because addressing minority contact is only one of four criteria that states must comply with when vying for formula grants. What's more, once states receive the grant, it's up to them to determine how much is spent on DMC reduction efforts. Page 42 of 114

IV. The Juvenile Justice Process How Juvenile Cases are Handled In a juvenile case, the victim does not bring charges against the accused. A crime is considered a wrong against the State, and the people of the State file charges. The county attorney represents the State, and filing a petition against the juvenile is charging him or her with a crime. In some situations, a law enforcement officer will issue a ticket, also called a citation. A delinquent act is an act committed by a juvenile that would be a crime if committed by a person over age 18. When a juvenile has been charged with a delinquent act, the legal process is significantly different from the process used for adults. The juvenile justice system works to treat and rehabilitate juvenile offenders. Including divertingthe juvenile from the court process through other restorative justice services when possible. In addition, juvenile courts move more quickly to resolve cases and provide the accused more privacy than adults charged with similar crimes. Investigation and Charging A crime committed by a juvenile is investigated like any other crime. After the crime is reported, the officer conducts an investigation to decide if there is enough evidence to prove that the juvenile committed the offense. If the officer believes that there is enough evidence, reports are sent to the County Attorney's Office or a citation may be issued. Page 43 of 114

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