CM - Differential Opportunities
The allocation of prevention and treatment resources within communities is seldom uniform or universally accessible across the entire community. In some instances, those allocations create a disadvantage for minority youth. This can occur in at least four ways:
Access may be limited by geography, hours of operation, or other means. For example, if a program is located in an area of a community that is not accessible through public transportation, the unintended outcome may be that only families who have access to private automobiles may participate. If a program is structured so that it is available only during normal working hours, then youth whose parents cannot leave their place of employment during work hours may be unable to participate. If a program is not located in those sections of a community with high concentrations of minority youth, then minority youth are less likely to access it.
criteria may be used in many programs to define a set of youth most likely to benefit from the program or to exclude those youth that program leaders believe will likely disrupt the program or otherwise be less likely to benefit from the program resources. Some of those eligibility criteria may work to the disadvantage of minority youth. For example, drug court or mental health programs may have entry criteria that exclude youth with some types of prior delinquency or other histories. These criteria may be more likely to exclude minority youth. When such criteria are evidence based, they may suggest other intervention strategies to address DMC (e.g., to work on the factors that lead to these eligibility criteria differences).
characteristics may play a role in encouraging or discouraging minority youth participation. The physical tone of a facility may be inviting or discouraging, may indicate an appreciation of multiple cultures, or may be sterile and institutional. Staff attitudes and demeanor may be welcoming or the opposite. For those youth who do not speak English, the lack of materials and interpretive services in their own language may create barriers to participation. These and other attributes may affect a program’s capacity to retain minority youth participation over time, which is important to achieving the intended prevention or intervention outcomes. As an example, examination of an intervention program to improve the social skills and employment opportunities of troubled African American delinquent males “one step away from the state training school” revealed that these youth were not likely to complete the 4-month program because the lead staff members were neither African American nor male. In this instance, the characteristics of staff seemed to be critical to success with minority clients. This does not, of course, mean that such an impact will occur for all programs or all youth, simply that implementation characteristics need to be considered when differential success is present.
Effectiveness is the capability to achieve intended outcomes. Many prevention or treatment programs have been developed initially with a particular group of youth in mind, often white youth. Whether the prevention/treatment model is sufficiently culturally adapted or neutral is a question that is frequently noted in the compilation of evidence-based programs, such as the OJJDP Model Program Guide. The issue for examination in DMC is whether the program outcomes (e.g., prevention) are accomplished at equal rates for youth of differing racial and cultural backgrounds.
Differential processing or inappropriate decisionmaking criteria can be an issue in determining program eligibility, implementing diversion programs, and selecting alternative decision outcomes. The fundamental questions are:
Mobility Effects: Importation/Displacement
Justice by Geography
Legislation, Policies, and Legal Factors With Disproportionate Impact
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