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National Juvenile Justice Network Policy Platform, DMC

Published May 18, 2012, National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN)

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Although white youth and youth of color commit crimes at similar rates, crime policies and school, police and juvenile court practices frequently lead to a disproportionate focus on – and more punitive response to – the behavior of youth of color. The end result of these policies and practices is the overrepresentation of youth of color, both boys and girls, at all stages of the juvenile justice system. They are arrested, charged, and incarcerated more than white youth who have engaged in similar conduct. Youth of color are disproportionately detained pre-adjudication, and they often receive more severe sanctions than white youth charged with the same offense. These research results demonstrate that racial and ethnic disparities pervade the juvenile justice system and must be addressed. 

This policy platform from the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) will be useful for advocates and juvenile justice practitioners seeking an authoritative set of guidelines suitable for sharing with policymakers, community members, and their own networks.

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Models for Change is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.