REPORT: Reform of Racial Disparities in Youth Incarceration Stagnate

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By Yana Singhal

WASHINGTON, DC –Even though statistics indicate there are significant drops in “youth incarceration over the past decade, youth of color remain vastly more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers,” according to the Sentencing Project.

Recent data from the Sentencing Project notes how “Black youth and Tribal youths’ disproportionate incarceration is largely unchanged compared to 10 years prior, while Latinx youths’ incarceration disparities with their white peers have been reduced.”

The Project also notes how Black youth are around five times more likely compared to white peers to be held in juvenile facilities nowadays while 10 years ago, it was a far more of an equivalent ratio.

The research also highlights how,  as of 2021, in Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Illinois, “Black youth were at least 10 times as likely to be held in placement as white youth.”

In terms of Latinx youth incarceration disparity, they are around “16 percent more likely to be incarcerated than their white peers” which is a significant reduction over the decade, said the project.

But, the data shows, in 2021, in the states of Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut, “Latinx youth are at least four times as likely to be held in placement as white youth.”

The Project also looked at Tribal disparities and noted how they are “four times as likely as their white peers to be held in juvenile facilities, an equivalent ratio to 10 years ago.”

The Tribal disparities are also quite similar to Black youth as they also are around “five times as likely to be held in placement as white youth,” in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Carolina as of 2021.

Josh Rovner, Director of Youth Justice at the Sentencing Project and author of the new publications, said in a statement, “Our systems of justice are much harsher on youth of color,” and how the new data should echo “that despite the impressive progress in reducing youth incarceration, the legacy of the Superpredator Era has yet to be erased.”

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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