CHICAGO, May 25, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new website, JusticeDivided.com, will increase public awareness of the overrepresentation of minority Chicago youth in the juvenile justice system and provide open source data for research by community members and journalists, eventually leading to changes in practices and policies.
"The purpose of the website is to call attention to the overrepresentation of minority youth in the juvenile justice system and to provide factual and easy-to-access data from verified public data sources," said Hannah Cushman, Developer at DataMade, a civic technology company based in Chicago. "By using accurate information, the public can have a better understanding of the degree of the problem and learn how to reduce the inequality."
"The site is targeted to inform youth, provide them with tools to become engaged in policy reform efforts and provide resources to help them overcome the collateral consequences of having an arrest record," said Era Laudermilk, Deputy Director of the Illinois Justice Project."
Some visitors will be surprised to learn that black youth make up only 42 percent of Chicago's youth population but account for 79 percent of arrests and 87 percent of imprisonments.
"The website is intended to encourage a public discussion of inequity: for example, while black and white youth have the same rate of marijuana use, blacks are arrested far more often," Laudermilk said. "The website also is a resource to spur discussion of how to develop and implement policies and practices to reduce disproportionate minority contact, as well as information to help kids in trouble stay out of trouble."
Because the data includes neighborhood breakdowns of youth arrests by race, a visitor can find demographic arrest data for every police district and compare districts on a map of the city.
DataMade built the website in partnership with the Adler University, Project NIA and the Illinois Justice Project. Funding was provided by the Polk Bros. Foundation, which partners with local nonprofit organizations that work to reduce the impact of poverty and provide area residents with better access to quality education, preventive health care and basic human services.
"Disproportionate Minority Contact in the juvenile justice system is not unique to Chicago, but it must not be viewed as a problem that is so ingrained that it cannot be eliminated," said Dan Cooper, Executive Director of Adler University's Center for Equitable Cities.
For more information, visit www.ILJP.org.
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SOURCE Illinois Justice Project