May 30. 2019 Safe Return Project and young folks from West Contra Costa publicly presented their findings and recommendations for youth justice and decarceration.
Both Contra Costa County and Richmond face a large racial disparity in youth contact with the juvenile justice system, with Black youth most affected by racial disparities and Hispanic/Latino youth second most affected (see section 1.5 for more data on disparities in the County). Many Black and Hispanic/Latino youth in West County have experienced significant traumatic life events, including unstable living situations, sexual abuse, being in foster care, having incarcerated parents or siblings, and having parents or siblings that have been murdered, among others. This severe trauma can result in youth engaging in behavior that puts them at higher risk of contact with the juvenile justice system.
In addition, Black and Latino youth in the County were more likely to receive harsher sentences than White youth, with Black youth eleven times more likely to be referred to probation than White youth, and Latino youth twice as likely as White youth. Black and Latino youth were also more likely than white youth to be detained prior to adjudication and to be placed in secure confinement. In Richmond, Black youth were seven times more likely to be arrested for a violent crime than White or Latino youth. In addition, Black youth in Richmond represented 50% of those charged with a misdemeanor or felony in 2018, despite only representing 20% of the total population in Richmond. Finally, the Contra Costa County Probation Department is currently supervising 157 minors in West County (including Kensington, El Cerrito, Hercules, Rodeo and Crockett, in addition to the cities of focus for this proposal); 45% are African-American and 44% are Hispanic/Latino.
Link to full Report (If the link does not work using your mobile device copy and paste the URL into your web browser)
SRP lead and participated small groups to specifically work around eliminating willful Defiance and the phasing out of school resource officers. We also informed what other alternators exist that could de-escalate conflict but don’t have the lead to arrest. We researched the police budget and Richmond data and came to the conclusion that with the cost for one school resource officer contract we could employ 3 service providers or counselors in each school. We fought hard with Parents, Partners and Leaders, at School Board meetings and gave real testimonies from Student Leaders and Parents from the community on the negative impact of having SRO’s in schools. The West Contra Costa School Board voted to pass a Resolution with the recommendations from Community leaders to phase out School Resource Officers soon, reduce class sizes and to develop a restorative justice model in the School District.