Minority youth in S.D. overrepresented in juvenile justice - KOTA Territory News

Minority youth in S.D. overrepresented in juvenile justice system

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Statistics show minority youth in South Dakota are overrepresented at most stages of the state's juvenile justice system. In 2012, there were 907 white youth arrests compared to more than 1,200 Native American youth arrests.


In an effort to get to the bottom of the issue, the Council for Juvenile Services implemented a plan that will provide more resources for minority youth and a way to keep better statistics.

Pennington County State's Attorney Mark Vargo says with more accurate statistics juvenile justice workers will be able to determine the reason behind the disproportionate minority contact. "What I caution people about is whether we are going to assume from that there is something wrong with our enforcement mechanisms or something wrong with the circumstances that brought the youth to this place," Vargo said.
 
Pennington County received a $60,000 grant to help in their efforts. A portion will be used to provide troubled minority youth with resources like counseling.

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