Community Assessment Proposal Paper
Ending the High Rate of Juvenile Crime Rates in Wisconsin
This research begins by drawing on the fact that Wisconsin's future prosperity largely depends on the wellbeing and productivity of young people. However, research evidence shows that justice and crime involvement influences the opportunities and development of young people. Therefore, this community assessment focuses on ending the high rate of juvenile crime rates in Wisconsin. Specifically, the assessment focuses on how Wisconsin should strive to end the high number of detentions and restore the right procedure justice to its legal system. The good news is the number of arrests and juveniles held in correction facilities has been steadily declining in Wisconsin. The bad news is racism is still present in the arrest, as African American youth are three times more likely to be arrested in Wisconsin than white youth. Reform in the juvenile justice system in Wisconsin is necessary, and there are opportunities through major legislation to change the system. In 2017, it is estimated that 60% of the youth held in juvenile facilities in Wisconsin were from Milwaukee County. With the rate of teen arrests still high, it is more alarming that recommitment is still high, so what the state needs to do is remove the mandatory minimum in sentencing offenders. This will do in an attempt to restore its state judicial discretion in punishing juvenile offenders. Also, the state removes prosecutorial abuses in plea decisions and in charging. The state can also depend on community control parole. The cash bail system has been failing and, therefore, increasing offenders' high detention rate of non-violent criminal acts, which means the court cash bail system needs to be rectified. Racist policies have worked to discriminate African American youths in Wisconsin, making their number double compared to the national average.
Altogether, there has been tremendous improvement in the state youth justice system. For instance, in the year 2002, the number of youths arrested for violent crimes dropped by 48%. The number of juveniles housed by the state juvenile facility dropped from 866 in 2002 to 227 in 2016. Over the same time, the number of arrested youth aged between 10-17 years old fell to 72 from 187 arrests. Unfortunately, as the rate of decline seems to favor the white youth more than African American youth. According to reports, ethnic and racial disparities in dispensing justice has significantly increased. In 2013 black youth were 15 times more likely to be committed than in 2003 when the chances of getting committed to a juvenile facility were 8.2 times. One would argue that disparities exist because African American youth engage more in criminal behavior, but this is not the case. Contributing factors such as racial bias, place crime are committed, and police policies and practice are the main reasons for the disparities.
Describe the general population of the community
The population for Wisconsin is 5,822, 434. The white people comprise 81% of the population, African Americans make about 6.7% of the population, Hispanic people are 7.1%, and the rest are below 3%. Today, Wisconsin is more diverse than in the past, with different race groups concentrated in different areas of the state. For instance, metropolitan areas have a high number of African Americans. The majority of the African American lives around Dane County or Milwaukee County. Indian Americans live in reserve areas. White American leave in all counties except Menominee, which is home to Indians. Asian communities are distributed in rural and urban communities throughout the state.
Identify and describe the target population
The target population is youth, an increase in crime in this group has become a huge concern for policymakers, and the general public over the past few years. It is estimated that there are more than 24000 youths in custody today. The good news is that the number of arrests has been declining because, in 2015, there were more than 44,157 children aged between 10 and 16 years arrested. There was a decline of 40% from the 2011 figure. The detention rate has also decreased over the decades. Detention is the holding of youth accused of doing a crime in a secure facility awaiting disposition.
Nevertheless, the detention rate is racially disproportionate. Because of all the arrests done in 2015, only 9% were white youth, while African Americans made up 21%. On matter to do with detainees, the black teen made up 50%, which is 19 times more than white youth.
The crimes the youth are mostly accused of committing include violence with categories such as forcible rape, aggravated assault, robbery, and murder. Other crimes include property theft, a status crime such as disobeying statuses such as runaway, curfew violation, and liquor. Other cries include negligent manslaughter and driving under the influence of alcohol. While doing the research, it was established that high adverse childhood experiences among the youth were some of the factors the exposed youth to become offenders. Recidivism are individuals who have in the past committed a crime and are returning to a correction facility. Recidivism is common among youth below 18 years in Wisconsin, with more than half of the first year offenders returning to incarceration within three years.
Present needs of the target population
There is no question that victimization and crime mostly impact more on the marginalized and minority communities and young people. The negative impact of broad policies and overly punitive policies are passed from generation to generation. Children born to incarcerated parents will drop out of school, have disciplinary problems in school, and suffer from behavior issues. Incarceration is negatively associated with unemployment, and young African American mostly bears low income and wages and these impacts.
Justice practices have adverse consequences present in the justice continuum. Therefore, they include various things that receive little attention since they are taken to be low levels, such as probations and misdemeanor convictions and justice fines and fees. Young people can also find themselves in the justice system because of things such as status offense; for example, being beyond control, such crimes are concentrated in African American communities. Police legitimacy is another issue that makes police treat people differently based on their ethnicity and race. It is essential to focus on police legitimacy to ensure that there is greater compliance to law and addressing crime without biasness. Generally, applying sanctions and enforcement by the justice system can hinder young people's life prospects and hold back their development. Moreover, inappropriate justice can be predatory and abusive. What needs to be done include is rectify the justice system and ensure that there an end to the high rate of juvenile crime rates in Wisconsin
Identify and describe the community
According to data gathered on Wisconsin in 2010 there about 1.13 couples who are married and among the married couple it is reported that about 40% of them have children who live with them. There were about 152,000 households of the unmarried opposite sex, with 37% of this group having children same-sex household totaled to 27,000, and the majority of the couple did not have children. Only 26% of 15,000 women in same-sex marriage had children, and about 18% of the 12,000 men in same-sex marriage had children. Nevertheless, the share of children living with single parents has grown over the years, from 13.5% in 1980 to 26.5% in 2010.
Where is the community located (indicate using a zip code, city, and county)
Present and describe the primary social/ issue/ need in the community affecting the target population and discuss at least three factors/roots
The community we are focusing on lives within Wisconsin, and as mentioned earlier, the target population are the youth aged between 10 to 16 years old. In Wisconsin as it is in other states, there is considerable discretion in the manner in which a case is addressed based on the offense nature. The major social issue affecting juvenile youth is the justice system. Unfortunately, the juvenile justice system for Wisconsin has serious problems that should be addressed to ensure the wellbeing and safety of the youth. One of the glaring issues surrounding the juvenile justice system is the overrepresentation of African American youth. Some reports indicate that youth of color often receive harsher sentences and treatment compared to their white counterpart in all stages of the juvenile justice system. For example, it is more likely that an African American will get hasher longer sentence rather than receive probation or alternative penalties, which would easily be offered to white youth.
Identify and discuss dominant values in the community that uphold the factor/roots' prevalence, causing a social problem.
With the decline in juvenile incarceration and arrest, Wisconsin state still holds a considerable number of youth with the facilities. The majority coming from Milwaukee County as of 2017, it is estimated that more than 60% of the youth in a juvenile facility were African American from Milwaukee County. The dominant values within the Wisconsin community that sustain the prevalence of this social problem include racial bias, law enforcement, location, and punitive juvenile law.
Racial bias is a major contributing factor that has seen the majority of those incarcerations to be African American. It is perceived black children are delinquent, so the majority are not giving alternative sentences other than incarceration. Law enforcement officers also tend to target low-income areas to carry out group arrest procedures; this results in innocent youth being incarcerated. Jurisdiction has proven that cases prosecuted in the urban areas are most likely to end in harsh, severe sentencing as compared to a ruling made in rural areas. Punitive juvenile laws mean that juvenile can be charged in an adult court, and judges have the discretion of judging the youth as an adult.
Identify and describe at least three community strengths that can enable macro intervention with the factors/roots of the problem/issue/ need previously described.
In terms of community strength, Wisconsin community can promote various policies the will help reduce youth involvement in the criminal justice system and end a high rate of juvenile crime rates. The community has invested in effective prevention and maximized the impact of those investments by building prevention infrastructure in areas that they need most. The Wisconsin bill (AB 953) was passed to ensure that the reformed juvenile justice system aimed to rehabilitate rather than punish.
The second community strength is the attention that has been given to reforms. The community releases that there is a problem with the current juvenile justice system and is now focusing on improving it. The community is looking into other states' juvenile justice systems model what has been done and how successful the model has been. This will, as a result, reduce the rate of recidivism and provide positive youth outcomes. The Wisconsin state is, therefore, working towards changing the prisonlike facility to a model that is more friendly and close to home.
Another community strength is reducing the number of detained youth by taking them to community-based programs where they live at home but are monitored electronically and ordered to follow a strict schedule.
Another strength is the use of the community as an analysis unit that will help shift the attention from individual crime incidents and generalize the response to local opportunity, local impact, and domestic dynamic. This means that the community needs to fight the causes of violence, such as drug markets and street guns. This strength, to a large extent, relies on local alliances and the potential of local resources.
To foster positive development and intervene for youth that has encountered the juvenile justice system Wisconsin Office of Children, special education and practitioners in young people's mental health are part of the community's social service organization.
Some of these groups have been applied to prevent rather than intervene primarily. The social service organization has also built on youth existing strengths plus that of their families and the community, thus helping the youth attain positive developmental outcomes. The Wisconsin Office of Children's vision is to ensure that all youth are safe and loved. To achieve these, the organization has concentrated on eliminating ethnic and racial disparities in their programs by systematically increasing early care access and access to a quality education program. Another focus of the Wisconsin Office of Children is placing families at the Centre of success in supporting children. Wisconsin Office of Children has also played a key role in transforming the youth justice system to ensure that juveniles are supported to rehabilitate from home and within the community. The social service organization has further worked to ensure that underserved youths and vulnerable youths have needed resources and supports. The social service organization has placed effort in seeing to it that Wisconsin juvenile justice system is reformed to stop the disproportional dispensing of justice to the youth of color. The injustice against black youths has hindered their ability to flourish and grow. As a result of the social service organizations' efforts, the rate of arrest and incarceration has declined over the years, thus improving the conditions. Also, social service organizations have worked with policymakers to promote reforms in the critically flawed system.
In the juvenile justice system, the Wisconsin Office of Children performs the following roles to help delinquent youth offer counseling services, mentoring, and truancy prevention to youth who are at risk of ending up in the juvenile system. Offer diversion programs such as community service, restitution, and assessment and treatment. For referred youth, services are offered in line with the deferred prosecution agreement. In post-disposition which is for a juvenile who have been sentenced
Social service groups should see to it that mandatory minimum when sentencing offenders is removed. This would serve a crucial role in attempting to bring back the Wisconsin state judicial discretion in punishing juvenile offenders. Furthermore, efforts need to be made to end the high number of detention and restore the juvenile justice system right procedure.
Giving the youth a voice through engagement can help reform the juvenile justice system. This is because the youth have the first hard experience with the system, and through their experiences, they could help shape the diversion and prevention programs to be more productive. There is no doubt that youth can be essential tools in the reform efforts because they bring unique viewpoints. Furthermore, these would shape into responsible adults and offer them the opportunity to transform their community. It is time for Wisconsin to directly involve the young people in the juvenile justice system reform since they are the most affected.
Professional in juvenile justice needs to advocate for the collection and inclusion of more data to help tract the youth, especially the African American throughout the system. This will help understand the system and how it serving the youth without biasness. At this point, it is clear that Wisconsin state juvenile justice system does not have a system put in place for collecting data.
A holistic approach for juvenile justice reform must be adopted to include modifications to the current infrastructure and investment in the evidence-based programs that will help prevent juvenile delinquency from occurring in the first place. The holistic approach can include removing from school the zero-tolerance policy; this has time and time again has proven that it does not work and leads to children ending up in the juvenile justice system. There is a high likelihood that a child suspended in school will be involved in the justice system in their new future. High-quality education programs for all children will also shape their future and prevent delinquent behavior. Community resources should be increased for diversion purposes. Diversion programs have the advantage of identifying youth needs and making early interventions to avoid any future interaction with the justice system.
As already presented above, the rate of youth incarceration in this stage is extremely high compared to the national average (Wisconsin Office of Children, 2016). However, what is most worrying is that most youths, mainly black youths, are unevenly targeted. For instance, more blacks are imprisoned as compared to white teens. Equally, Carmichael (2015) notes that racial and ethnic discrimination in imprisonment remains high than in other areas across America. Even when the state has used millions of dollars, no significant improvements seem to be coming forth. For this reason, finding ways to reverse this trend is necessary.
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