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Report: Ohio Locking Up Too Many Minority Children

December 22, 2006

Columbus, OH - According to a report released yesterday by the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) of Ohio, minority children are far more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system than white children, even when they commit the same offense.

State director of CDF Ronald Browder says the report shows that white kids are more likely to get alternatives to incarceration, including treatment or community-based programs.

"But minority children are not given those chances or those opportunities and they end up in juvenile justice, in the Department of Youth Services."

According to Browder, when kids are abandoned into the juvenile justice system, they are very likely to spend time in prison as adults, too.

"Children do not thrive on being locked-up. They need to be in treatment facilities, where they can be re-engaged into more positive behaviors."

Browder is optimistic for a change; he says police, juvenile court judges, local governments, and the state's Department of Youth Services are getting on board to provide incarceration alternatives for minority kids. He stresses that prevention is also vital, and he encourages community and faith groups to join in by helping keep kids away from crime in the first place.

The report is online at www.cdfohio.org.

Rob Ferrett/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH