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African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

POLICY BRIEF: RACIAL

POLICY BRIEF: RACIAL DISPARITIES IN YOUTH COMMITMENTS AND ARRESTS AMERICAN INDIAN COMMITMENT DISPARITIES, 2013 State-by-state analysis of American Indian youth is hampered by their small number and attendant small percentage of the population in many states. Roughly 90 percent of American Indian juveniles live in just 26 states. In 24 states, less than 1 percent of youth are American Indian. Nationwide, American Indian youth were nearly four times as likely as white youth to be committed. In three states (Minnesota, Illinois and Vermont), the American Indian/white disparity is more than ten-to-one, meaning that American Indian youth are more than 10 times as likely as white juveniles to be committed. American Indian youth, only New Mexico has no American Indian/white disparity. Figure 5. White and American Indian Commitment Rates per 100,000 Youth, 2013 69 254 Among the 26 states with a significant proportion (more than one percent of the total population) of White American Indian Figure 6. American Indian/White Racial Disparity in Commitment Rates per 100,000 Youth, 2013 0 1 3 5 10+ See full data in Appendix C. The Sentencing Project • 1705 DeSales Street NW, 8th Floor • Washington, D.C. 20036 • sentencingproject.org 4

POLICY BRIEF: RACIAL DISPARITIES IN YOUTH COMMITMENTS AND ARRESTS COMMITMENT DISPARITIES, 2003 VERSUS 2013 Equally distressing to the existence of racial and ethnic disparities is their persistence. Under the federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, since 1988 states have been required to address disparities in confinement. 8 Those disparities persist today, having remained constant for Hispanic youth while growing for African American and American Indian youth over this ten-year period. RACIAL DISPARITIES GREW NATIONALLY, BUT NOT IN ALL STATES TRENDS IN AFRICAN AMERICAN TO WHITE COMMITMENT DISPARITIES In 2003, African American youth were 3.7 times as likely as white youth to be committed; by 2013, that ratio had grown to 4.3, a 15 percent increase in the disparity. Between 2003 and 2013, 33 states and the District of Columbia had higher black/white commitment disparities than 10 years before, and 17 states saw decreases or no changes. TRENDS IN HISPANIC TO WHITE COMMITMENT DISPARITIES In 2003, Hispanic youth were 61 percent more likely than white youth to be committed; by 2013, that ratio was unchanged. Four states – Alaska, Maine, Mississippi, and Vermont -- had no Hispanic youth in commitment as of the day of the one-day census in 2013. In nine other states – Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, and West Virginia – Hispanic youth were less likely or equally likely to be committed as were white youth. Between 2003 and 2013, 26 states and the District of Columbia saw increases in their Hispanic/white commitment disparity; 6 states saw no change, and 18 states had a decreased disparity. TRENDS IN AMERICAN INDIAN TO WHITE COMMITMENT DISPARITIES In 2003, American Indian youth were two-and-a-half times (2.5) as likely as white youth to be committed; by 2013, that ratio increased by nearly 50 percent to 3.7. Seventeen states had no American Indian youth in commitment as of the day of the one-day census in 2013 and thus no disparity. In Texas and New Mexico, American Indian youth were less likely or equally likely to be committed as were white youth. Between 2003 and 2013, 28 states had increasing American Indian/white disparities; 22 states and the District of Columbia saw decreases or no changes. Figure 7. Changes in U.S. Youth Commitment Disparities, 2003-2013 3.7 4.3 3.7 2.5 1.6 1.6 2003 2013 2003 2013 2003 2013 Black/White Disparity Hispanic/White Disparity American Indian/White Disparity The Sentencing Project • 1705 DeSales Street NW, 8th Floor • Washington, D.C. 20036 • sentencingproject.org 5

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