Community B

In 2000, Community B became part of a mandated statewide effort to investigate the rates of overrepresentation and DMC. Community B was an urban area with high crime rates and with increasing rates of juvenile offending behavior. African American youth represented 88% of all detained youth while Whites represented 10% from 2000 to 2001, and African American males accounted for 69% of all detained youth during that period. Similar to Community A, juvenile crime in Community B also received high visibility from the electronic media and local politicians. Political pressure was brought to bear by local and state governmental officials on the two major urban areas of the state to investigate and document the level of DMC and develop programmatic efforts to address the overrepresentation of African American youth in the juvenile justice system. Small grants were provided to Community B by the state government to begin the process of addressing the DMC problem.

The demographics of Community B differed from Community A. Whereas Com- munity A increased in total population, Community B decreased by approximately 50% over the course of 30 years from 622,000 in 1970 to 332,000 in 2000. Of the 332,000, 44% were classified as White, 51% African American, 2% Asian, and 2% Hispanic/Latino. Twenty-five percent of the population in Community B was younger than age 18 (U.S. Census, 2004b). The median household income was $27,000, with 26% of the population living below the poverty level (U.S. Census, 2004b). In 2002, judges and juvenile court and detention facilities administrators invited 125 community stakeholders to attend a community presentation by the W. Haywood Burns Institute, a leading national organization working to address the overrepresentation of youth of color in the juvenile justice system. This initial meeting served as a catalyst to assemble a DMC advisory board consisting of community stakeholders to assist in the development of a communitywide strategy to address DMC. A previous community advisory group on juvenile court recidivism merged with the newly established DMC Advisory Board for a more focused approach to addressing this significant community problem. Community representatives from the judicial system, schools, law enforcement, city government, state social services, churches, youth development organizations, and local universities were represented on this advisory board. The juvenile courts and deten- tion facilities engaged two researchers from the local university to document the extent of DMC for African American youth. A DMC coordinator was hired to refine existing and implement new programmatic efforts.

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