The Partnership is focused on diversion strategies prior to or at the point of arrest to help decrease the rates for non-violent and violent crime. Promising practices such as Community Conferencing, funded by the Governor’s office for Crime Control Prevention, are decreasing the numbers of juveniles who enter the system. The Anne Arundel County Community conferencing program is one of the most successful in the nation having diverted almost 400 youth from the juvenile services system over the last four years, 95% of whom are African American. 90% of youth in the program do not recidivate. Conferencing is now available in the school system to help prevent suspension.
The partnership also supports after school programs that include research based prevention curricula. These programs focus on those vulnerable youths identified by the juvenile services or public school system. Additionally, case management in our Systems of Care initiative and referrals to the two Youth Services Bureaus in the county address some of the family issues that may lead to negative and risky behaviors.
According to census estimates, since July, 2010, the overall juvenile population in Anne Arundel County has decreased by 4.2%. However, juvenile services complaints (all sources) have increased from 2,724 to 2,861(Department of Juvenile Services Data book, 2014). Disparity in Juvenile Justice, though decreasing, is still showing a rate for African Americans of 2.57 (2014 DMC data) as opposed to Caucasians. Public school system data is showing the same disparities. African Americans students only represented 19% of the public school enrollment but accounted for 45% of the disciplinary referrals (MSDE Suspension, Expulsion, and Health Related Exclusion Data, 2013-14).
This priority result area is supported by the needs identified across all service sectors related to supporting children during times they are not in school, especially those providing psychological assessments, emotional support, mentoring and diversion for vulnerable populations. Parent training and education were also cited as important components of programming.