Cville Task Force to Host Forums on Racial Disparities

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The Charlottesville Task Force on Racial Disparity has been researching the differences in the juvenile justice system since 2009. Now it is reaching out to the community to try to bridge those gaps.

The group will host a series of forums in hopes of reducing the number of black youths who come in contact with the juvenile justice system. 

The task force was put in place by City Council in 2011 after the Commission on Children and Families found a number of disparities in the area - in the child welfare system, health outcomes, and kids in juvenile court. 

The commission found three out of four children who end up on probation are African-American. It also found African-American children are five and a half times more likely to go to juvenile detention than white children. 

Now the group is looking for ways to reduce those disparities. 

"The impact is on our community so we want to make sure that we give the community a chance to understand exactly what the data says what it doesn't say and spread the word but also to find what solutions are from the community perspective," said Mike Murphy, who heads the task force.

The group is also reaching out to judges, lawyers and police officers for their input on recommended changes to the system. 

The first forum is Tuesday night at the Friendship Court Community Center, starting at 5:30 p.m.

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