Expansion of Baltimore City Program Offers Alternative to Detention for African-American Girls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 31, 2011

Contacts: Brice Freeman, Communications, 410-396-1910, [email protected] Kate Schmelyun, Communications, 410-396-7336, [email protected] Ernest Dorsey, Youth Services, 410-396-6722, [email protected]

Expansion of Baltimore City Program Offers Alternative to Detention for African-American Girls The PACT Evening Reporting Center Addresses the Over-Representation of African-American Youth in the City’s Juvenile Justice System Baltimore, Maryland (October 31, 2011) – A Baltimore City program to reduce and eliminate the overrepresentation of young African-American males in the juvenile justice system has been expanded to include young black women and girls between the ages of 14 and 18. The program, called the PreAdjudicated Coordination and Training (PACT) Evening Reporting Center, previously served only young men and boys age 14-18 who would otherwise be in secure juvenile confinement. The expanded PACT program began last month and will serve up to 60 girls annually. Part of the Youth Opportunity (YO!) Baltimore program operated by the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED), PACT utilizes a youth development model that works to collaborate with participants, their families, the Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP), the Family League of Baltimore City, and other partners to engage teens and encourage them to address the underlying issues that lead to anti-social or deviant behavior. The PACT Evening Reporting Center provides structured, engaging, pro-social activities such as personal goal setting, reading and literacy, exercise and fitness, career exploration, communication and life skills development, and cultural enrichment. All PACT participants have access to the same services and activities, which are provided separately to boys and girls on a rotating schedule. The expansion also introduced programming related to genderspecific issues that are common to girls in the juvenile justice system, including trauma, pregnancy, and family relationships. “Last year, 157 Baltimore City girls entered secure detention. With no programming in the community that offers alternatives to detention for girls, we can assume that several of these admissions could and should have been diverted,” said Ernest Dorsey, MOED’S assistant director of Youth Services. While African-American youth represent 76 percent of the total Baltimore City youth population ages 10- 17, 2008 Baltimore City Police Department data indicate that African-American youth represent 96 percent of all juvenile arrests in the city, and 2008 DJS Annual Statistical Report data show that 95 percent of all youth in secure detention were African-American. ### 

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