Report: Minority juveniles incarcerated at higher rates than White peers

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March 15 (UPI) — A Washington, D.C., incarceration watchdog called for Congress to set laws limiting what youths can be imprisoned for after examining the total number of juveniles being put behind bars, particularly for ethnic minorities.

The Sentencing Project said in its new report, “Too Many Locked Doors,” that the scope and impact of youth incarceration, particularly for minor crimes and misbehavior, is often understated and its impact downplayed.

The report said 32% of Hispanic juveniles and 29% of Black juveniles face the likelihood of being detained after being arrested, compared to 20% of White juveniles. The report showed 26% of Asian youths and 25% of Tribal youths are likely to be incarcerated after being arrested.

“Every time juvenile courts decide to confine a young person, even for short stays, devastating and life-long consequences may result,” Josh Rovner, senior advocacy associate and the author of the new report, said in a statement.

“Understanding the full scope of kids’ incarceration is critical to protecting youth and ensuring equal justice for youth of color,” Rovner said.

The report said that youths of color encounter police more often than their White peers and are disproportionately arrested despite modest differences in behavior that cannot explain the extent of arrest disparities.

The disparities in incarceration start with arrests but grow at each point of contact along the justice system continuum, the report said.

The report said governments should set limitations around incarcerating young people, only doing so when public safety is at risk. It also said reforms should focus on eliminating racial and ethnic disparities and guide funds toward effective solutions.

The Sentencing Project called for improved data gathering to determine the true impact of youth incarceration and spend more funds on services that impact family support.


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