John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Helene Solomon, Solomon McCown and Rappaport Advisory Board Member and Kimberly Blair, Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy, National Alliance on Mental Illness of NYC and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate and Massachusetts Department of Youth Services
Melissa Threadgill, Director of Juvenile Justice Initiatives and former Rappaport Public Policy Fellow
Description of Fellowship
Ayanna was jointly placed at the Office of the Child Advocate and the Department of Youth Services. She engaged in an exploratory project examining racial and ethnic disparities in youth arrests in Massachusetts.
Ayanna’s project had multiple components, the first being a literature review of racial and ethnic disparities in youth arrests to better understand the issue at hand. Utilizing findings from the literature review to guide her research questions, Ayanna then conducted analyses of Massachusetts youth overnight arrest data, identifying patterns and decision points that could be contributing to racial and ethnic disparities. She presented her findings to the research team at the Department of Youth Services. The third component of her summer project involved researching and brainstorming potential policy interventions that can target these disparities.
In addition to reviewing online reports, research briefs, and evaluations of initiatives implemented in other jurisdictions, Ayanna also spoke to various criminal justice stakeholders, researchers, and experts about their thoughts and suggestions around the issue of racial and ethnic disparities in youth arrests.