Contra Costa Co.: DA joins program to reduce racial disparities in juvenile justice

Contra Costa County has partnered with Georgetown University’s Center for Juvenile Justice Reform as well as the Center for Children’s Law and Policy for a program aimed at reducing ethnic and racial disparities in the juvenile justice system.

According to county staff, white people make up around 46 percent of the county’s general population, yet they represent just 9 percent of detained youth in the county’s justice system.

While minorities actually make up a slight majority of the county’s general population, they account for 90 percent of detained youth, according to data from 2016.

“We must increase options to positively and successfully divert young people away from the juvenile justice system,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton said Sept. 19 in a statement. “We can give our youth a second chance by providing them with a positive and strong support system within our overall criminal justice system.”

Other participating agencies include personnel from the Contra Costa County Public Defender’s Office, the Contra Costa County Office of Reentry and Justice, the Richmond Police Department, and the West Contra Costa Unified School District.

Contra Costa County’s rate of racial disparities in the juvenile justice system ranks fifth-worst in the state of California, according to a January study by the Oakland-based W. Haywood Burns Institute for Justice Fairness & Equity cited by county staff.

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