The system shrank, but its unfairness grew.

When youth of color are arrested, they are more likely to be detained than their white peers.

We go to the The Sentencing Project for a study on youth incarceration. 

Below are excerpts from the study

Critical Points

Youth incarceration is most commonly measured by a one-day count every October. This results in a vast undercount, especially amongst detained youths.

  • 31 youths charged with drug offenses are detained for each one measured in the one-day count.
  • 25 youths charged with public order offenses are detained for each one measured in the one-day count.
  • 18 youths charged with property offenses are detained for each one measured in the one-day count.
  • 11 youths charged with person offenses are detained for each one measured in the one-day count.

Likelihood of detention by race and ethnicity in 2019:

  • Latinx youth – 32%
  • Black youth – 29%
  • Asian/NHPI youth – 26%
  • Tribal youth – 25%
  • White youth – 20%

Likelihood of commitment by race and ethnicity in 2019

  • All youth – 7.6%
  • Latinx youth – 9.3%
  • Black youth – 9.3%
  • Tribal youth – 7.9%
  • Asian/NHPI youth – 5.6%
  • White youth – 5.6%

Over the past 10 years, the likelihood of detention for white youth and Tribal youth has remained about the same. However, Latino youth’s likelihood increased by 4%; Black youth’s increased by 3%; Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander increased by 5%.

VISUAL Breakdown

Above: A graphic depicting the miscount of youths in detention.

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