America’s Invisible Children

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The front (intake and court proceedings) and side (alternatives to incarceration) of the JJ system need work when it comes to Latino youth, according to the report, which is the third in the Campaign's Race and Ethnicity Series.

The language barrier prevents families and offenders from understanding what is going on, the report states, and refusal to release juveniles to extended family members results in lots of detainment for Latinos. Berks County in Pennsylvania has sort of become ground zero for this issue. Under the MacArthur Foundation's Models for Change Initiative, the county is translating a lot of its forms, providing more translators for juvenile courts and conducting cultural competency trainings.

Also, the report stated, alternative programs that have shown success with white or black youth are not necessarily successful in helping develop and rehabilitate Latino youth. The few programs that have been tailored to Latino youth (Southwest Key is probably the largest) need replication.

Read the report here.