Conference to Discuss Minority Youth

Please join us on Thursday, October 27th for the FREE annual DMC Conference.  The conference will be held at the Orthopedic Institute from 7:30am-12:30pm.  The one-day DMC Conference will draw together parents, students, counselors, law enforcement, school staff, juvenile justice professionals, judges, State’s Attorney staff, and human services professionals to learn from national and local speakers.  The conference goals are to increase awareness of racial disparities in the juvenile justice system, explore existing and dreamed-of resources for youth and families of color and those who work with them, and improve how families and the community can work together to reduce the number of minority youth in the juvenile justice system.

If you are a black, Hispanic, Asian, or Native American youth in Sioux Falls, you are more likely to be arrested than your white classmates are.  If you are black, you are five times more likely to be arrested.  If you are Native American, you are ten times more likely to be arrested.  Even with the array of post-arrest diversion programs now available in Sioux Falls, a disproportionate number of minority youth still end up in juvenile detention, where they are separated from their school, family, and the workforce.  The Disproportionate Minority Contact Work Group focuses on helping our community and families work together to help minority youth avoid juvenile offenses and involvement with the juvenile justice system.

An abundance of national research shows that punishment and incarceration, rather than restorative justice and rehabilitation, is harmful to youth and is associated with increased rates of re-offending, lower educational and vocational success, and incarceration later in life.  The national Youth Justice Work Group recommends 10 points for youth justice reform.  Our conference will address several of these points, including eliminating racial and ethnic disparities; engaging youth, families and community; improving cross-system collaboration; and creating a range of effective community-based supports.  When we can all work together effectively, the long-term benefits to Sioux Falls will be significant.  A 2009 Vanderbilt University study found that diverting just one youth from a life of crime, incarceration and unemployment would save society from $2 to $5 million over that youth’s lifetime.

Please come join us for an opportunity to learn more about DMC work and how you can best work with youth in our community to help them achieve success.

*To register for the conference, please email Annie.Brokenleg@LssSD.org with you name and contact info.

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