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Young Latinos Overrepresented In Juvenile Justice System New La Raza Figures Show

 Washington, DC—Among the overall youth population of the United States, Latinos make up 19% of all 10- to 17-year-olds, yet they represent 25% of youth who are incarcerated. A new fact sheet released today by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., examines the racial and ethnic backgrounds of young people in the juvenile justice system.

Just the Facts: A Snapshot of Incarcerated Youth finds that Whites represent 59% of the U.S. population ages 10–17 and 30% of those who are incarcerated, while Latinos and Blacks make up 25% and 45%, respectively, of the incarcerated youth population.

The fact sheet sounds an alarm about the sharp growth rate for Latino youth being held in adult facilities. The U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that from 2000 to 2008, the share of Latino youth under 18 years of age who are in adult prisons rose from 12% to 20%; during this time, the rate for Black and White youth in adult facilities declined by six and two percentage points respectively. Moreover:

  • On any given day, at least 18,000 Hispanic youth are incarcerated in the U.S. for mostly nonviolent offenses, compared to 32,000 Black and 21,000 White youth.
  • More than two in five (41%) of all incarcerated Hispanic youth are held in short-term juvenile detention facilities, compared to 38% of Black and 44% of White youth.
  • More than one in three (34%) of all incarcerated Hispanic youth is held in long-term secure facilities for youth, compared to 26% of Black and 32% of White youth.

Given that Hispanics will account for about 30% of the U.S. population by 2050, it is important that our nation address the overrepresentation and treatment of young Latinos in the justice system. The ability of Latino youth to overcome the barriers they face today will directly affect the economic and social success of our nation in the future.

For more information, please visit www.nclr.org | www.facebook.com/nationalcounciloflaraza | www.myspace.com/nclr2008 | http://twitter.com/nclr.

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Contact:
Sherria Cotton
(202) 785-1670



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