A group of Cincinnati teens, sponsored by the Children's Law Center, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and the Urban League, is making recommendations to the city of Cincinnati to reduce the number of youth arrests and eliminate racial disparities.
Children's Law Center Executive Director Acena Beck says over the summer representatives from Cincinnati's youth councils examined Hamilton County Juvenile Court data, including arrest and detention records. The goal was to come up with policy recommendations. They also learned about the juvenile justice system and how to request information.
Their suggestions include:
- Having a youth voice on the City Manager's Advisory Group
- Getting additional training for both police and youth, like "Connecting Cops & Kids"
- Having a greater emphasis on community-oriented policing
- Utilizing detention alternatives like the JDAI program in Northern Kentucky
According to Beck, "These policies, none of them are such lofty ideas that they can't be accomplished, not to say that they can all be accomplished tomorrow."
She and others presented the recommendations to Cincinnati's police chief and city manager Oct. 16 and plan to follow up.
The city seems open to it.
“The City Administration was pleased to partner with the Children’s Law Center, the Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio and Youth at the Center on this important topic. We look forward to going over the recommendations and discussing possible paths forward with the organizations, the Cincinnati Police Department and our elected officials in the coming weeks.
The City of Cincinnati remains committed to exploring ways to expand partnerships with a range of community based organizations to create platforms and meaningful opportunities for young people to voice their opinions and inform the decisions that will impact their lives.”
Beck maintains this was a positive experience for the youth. "One-hundred percent said the training was helpful and they learned something new. The one that I think is pretty powerful is that 96% said they are better prepared to handle the next encounter with a police officer."