Task Force Wants To Reduce Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice

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July 9, 2013

UPDATE, 10:35 PM

African American youth in Charlottesville and Albemarle County are one and a half times more likely to be placed in juvenile detention compared to Caucasian youth.

Community residents and a Charlottesville task force discussed how to change that, and similar statistics, Tuesday night, at the first of a series of meetings on racial disparity in the juvenile justice system.

The meeting took place at the Friendship Court Community Center in Charlottesville.

People could share their experiences with the juvenile justice system to get a better understanding on how to fix and get rid of racial disparities in the system.

"I knew that the numbers were high, I just didn't know how high. But I hope that this is a eye opener to the rest of the community so we all can come together to create programs and things to keep our children out the system," said Deirdre Gimore, a meeting attendee.

The City of Charlottesville Task Force on Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System will look at questions and themes they heard in tonight's meeting and future meetings.

If you would like to join this discussion on racial disparities, there are three more community meetings.


The Charlottesville/Albemarle Commission on Children and Families developed a Task Force on race disparity and disproportionality in youth services back in 2009.

Now after studies, research has shown that African American children are one and a half times more likely to be placed in juvenile detention than Caucasians children.

Members of the task force are made up of Charlottesville officials and researchers from UVa.'s Educational Psychology department.

"They found some real troubling data," says Charlottesville City Councilor Dave Norris. "African American youth and Caucasian youth being arrested for the same offenses are being treated very differently."

The goal of the series is the find ways to get rid of the racial gap in the juvenile justice system.

The first meeting will be held Tuesday night from 5:30-7pm at Friendship Court Community Center.

Other Dates include:

Tuesday, July 16 6:00-7:30pm Boys and Girls Club
Thursday, July 18 5:30-7pm Westhaven Community Center
Thursday, July 25 5:30-7pm South First Street

All are free to join the meetings and refreshments will be provided.

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