Training & TA - Culturally Competent Staff Practices
Staffing practices can be a powerful tool for strengthening an organization’s capability to deliver culturally competent services. Juvenile justice agencies should hire, promote, and retain at all levels qualified, culturally competent personnel who belong to the minority groups that these agencies serve. As part of an effort to develop and maintain a culturally diverse staff, some organizations have established minority internship programs. Agencies also can hire interpreters and translators so that non-English speaking youth and families can participate in juvenile court proceedings. Jurisdictions have taken a number of other steps to improve their juvenile justice systems, including adding juvenile court probation staff in tribal juvenile courts, recruiting members of minority groups to serve on community boards, reducing barriers to advocacy, developing brochures and other materials in languages other than English, and providing better information to parents (especially in languages they can understand) (Hsia, Bridges, and McHale, 2004).
Given the distrust that may exist between members of racial and ethnic minority communities and law enforcement personnel, juvenile courts also should consider performing outreach activities that make law enforcement officers more visible in the community and allow more contact with community members. Innovative methods such as neighborhood prosecution can increase trust between community residents and the justice system. For example, the San Diego City Attorney’s Neighborhood Prosecution Unit combines restorative justice practices with neighborhood prosecutors who work with police and community partners to develop proactive, community-based solutions to crime problems. Their Downtown Community Court requires misdemeanor offenders who commit crimes downtown to perform community service to repair the harm they have caused. This court is a collaborative effort involving the Downtown San Diego Partnership, San Diego Superior Court, San Diego Police Department, Office of the Public Defender, and other government and community-based organizations. Their Mid-City Community Court focuses on misdemeanor quality-of-life crimes in the mid-city area. A panel that includes community members determines sanctions. Offenders perform community work service, attend rehabilitative and educational programs, and pay fines and fees. The goals of this community court are greater accountability of offenders to the community and greater community involvement in the criminal justice process. Web site: http://www.sandiego.gov/cityattorney/divisions/communityjustice/npu/ . Contact information: 619–533–5500, e-mail email@example.com, attention: NPU.
Cultural Competency Training and Program Development
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