Promoting Equity and Inclusion
Discussions on inequities in the justice system have often centered on prisons, jails, and policing. However, all justice partners, including child and family systems and the criminal justice system, must examine the impact of historical and structural factors which perpetuate inequitable outcomes for justice-involved people and their families. Justice practitioners must also consider how intersecting factors relating to income, gender, geography, and sexuality can increase inequitable outcomes.
It is also necessary to examine how system involvement deepens racial and ethnic disparities. For example, research has highlighted the negative impact of family separation due to parental incarceration and the loss of income due to involvement in the justice system. Similarly, participation in the foster care system and removal from the home is associated with decreased earnings, higher rates of teen pregnancy, and increased rates of delinquency. Children of color are disproportionately affected by these outcomes.
Planning bodies should identify ways for directly impacted people to participate meaningfully in the planning process. Representatives on planning bodies should fully represent the demographic diversity of people within the community (including socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, gender, age, health status, and other forms of diversity).