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Polk County Juvenile Court Services were different than those in the Department of Human Rights report, but still showed racial disparities.
Of the 182, 79 were released to a parent or guardian and 103 booked and detained.
According to the report from the Iowa Department of Human Rights, juvenile cases that formally involve the court doubled from 2008 to 2012, and the number of juvenile detentions has increased by 59 percent.
Des Moines Police Chief Judy Bradshaw formed a committee, led by one of her captains and involving representatives from Des Moines schools, the Polk County attorney's office, and African American and Latino communities. The first priority was to try to collect and examine their own numbers and get a clearer picture of why some children were released and some detained.
Task force urges support for struggling children and their families in Polk County
More troubling, critics said, were the racial disparities. From 2008 to 2012, the number of white juveniles detained jumped by 29 percent, while African American youth saw an increase of 66 percent and Hispanic youth numbers went up 59 percent.
While the long term goal of a task force that met Wednesday is to see a drop in the number of youths arrested or cited by police, the first short term goal will be to compile information in one place about available services.
"We can focus on the numbers of kids that walk through the door here," said Frank Severino, the juvenile bureau chief of the Polk County attorney's office, referring to the juvenile detention facility where the meeting was held. "But until we get at the root causes, we'll be doing a lot of work for little result."
numbers didn't paint an accurate picture. The data counted arrests, rather than individual children, so some juveniles could be counted in the data twice, they said. And numbers prior to the time period studied had been artificially low due to a former juvenile prosecutor's push Skechers Energy Lights For Boys to formally deal with children in the justice system.
"What gets kids out here is behavior," Des Moines Police Capt. Al Tunks said. "I'd like to see kids have fewer contacts with police in the first place.".
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In 2012, the last year studied by the Department of Human Rights, 1,209 juveniles came into contact with juvenile court services for the first time. That included 423 youth placed in detention, some multiple times that year.
Though the task force examined the numbers and asked about how decisions are made about who is detained and who is released, the discussion cented on how to decrease arrests for all juveniles.
The task force was created in late 2013 after disagreements among law enforcement, the county attorney's office and community advocacy groups about how a report on youth contact with law enforcement should be interpreted.
the Polk County attorney's office argued the Vans Mens Shoes
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Task force urges support for struggling children and their families in Polk CountyA renewed effort by criminal justice, education and faith leaders to reduce the number of Polk County juveniles in the criminal justice system will focus on getting struggling children and families better access to community support services.
Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31, 182 juveniles were brought to Meyer Hall, the juvenile detention center. One third of juveniles were African American.
"I'll let the committee drive what comes next," Bradshaw said last month. "When we have such a variety around the table, we'll get different ideas. We're looking at the system itself."
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