One significant challenge for the reform effort was getting community stakeholders to realize that there may be more effective means to meet juveniles’ needs than using a secure detention as an alternative for other services. Community A built their reform from existing programs. They also secured seed funding from a local founda- tion to develop alternative programs and technical assistance. Community A developed a policy and decision-making team to formulate the philosophical goals of the reform initiative and develop new policies to address overrepresentation. The reform initiative was data driven and outcome based. A risk assessment tool was developed to reflect the new philosophy, policies, and community values. After 2 years of planning, the com- munity stakeholders and political decision makers organized to implement an overall detention reform plan. The plan focused on case processing, deten- tion admissions criteria, minority disproportionality, alternative program development, confinement conditions, and data collection. From 1994 to 2000, Com- munity A decreased detention rates for African American youth by 50% and for White youth by 30%. The result was a reduction of 29% in the ratio of African American detention rates to White detention rates, from 2 to 1.5. The sustained success of Community A in decreasing minority overrepresentation in their juvenile justice system established their efforts as a model program for other communities.
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