Presentation Title

Reduction and Prevention of Racial Disparities in Youth Justice

Presenter's Name(s)

William J. OmohundroFollow

Abstract

This is an evaluation of an ongoing community-based project, the Youth Development Program (YDP) led by the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) along with a number of community partners. Its original goal was to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system with a focus on youth of color who are either court-involved, socially associated with those already criminally-involved, are the subjects of school-discipline, or are part of the broader population believed to be at risk for such involvement. Over the course of the period under review (2017-2020), we found that project leaders had reframed the programming to address the critical ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ and shifted from the after-effects of disciplinary actions to intervening in root causes that lead to such penalties. AALV’s approach has thus been to provide safe and productive alternatives including mentorship, community-based partnerships, youth-focused activities, tutoring, counseling, and recreation spaces for school-aged youth of color from refugee backgrounds. Our basic assessment at the conclusion of this project is that this program has had significant successes, allowing participants to develop invaluable life skills. At the end of this report, we make several recommendations with the goal of improving the effectiveness of programming.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Pablo Bose

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Student College

Honors College

Program/Major

Political Science

Primary Research Category

Social Sciences

Secondary Research Category

Vermont Studies

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Reduction and Prevention of Racial Disparities in Youth Justice

This is an evaluation of an ongoing community-based project, the Youth Development Program (YDP) led by the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) along with a number of community partners. Its original goal was to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system with a focus on youth of color who are either court-involved, socially associated with those already criminally-involved, are the subjects of school-discipline, or are part of the broader population believed to be at risk for such involvement. Over the course of the period under review (2017-2020), we found that project leaders had reframed the programming to address the critical ‘school-to-prison pipeline’ and shifted from the after-effects of disciplinary actions to intervening in root causes that lead to such penalties. AALV’s approach has thus been to provide safe and productive alternatives including mentorship, community-based partnerships, youth-focused activities, tutoring, counseling, and recreation spaces for school-aged youth of color from refugee backgrounds. Our basic assessment at the conclusion of this project is that this program has had significant successes, allowing participants to develop invaluable life skills. At the end of this report, we make several recommendations with the goal of improving the effectiveness of programming.