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Measuring and Explaining Disproportionate Minority Confinement in Cuyahoga County

Anyone dealing with disproportionate minority confinement might learn something from this study of how to lower the number of black youth committed to Ohio’s Department of Youth Services (ODYS) and Juvenile Detention Center (JDC). Black youths make up 74 percent of the youth in ODYS and 66 percent of those in JDC, while representing one-third of the total population. The major disparity seems to be in drug offenses, for which black youth had been referred to court far more often than whites and were committed to ODYS three times as often as whites, even though white youths had prior violations more often than blacks. Though researchers believe a reduction in the number of black youth referrals is unlikely, their final recommendation is for minority neighborhoods to focus on “community efficacy” (willingness on the part of residents to intervene in the supervision of youth and maintain public order), a practice they say reduces violent youth crime. 49 pages. Free online. Center on Urban Poverty and Social Change, 10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, OH 44106. (216) 368-6946, http://povertycenter.cwru.edu.

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