In the most recent data for Washington state, Black youth were incarcerated at 3.9 times the rate of white youth.
From the NAACP Criminal Justice Fact Sheet:
“The criminal justice system is heavily impacted by the bias of police mentality, as well as outdated judicial precedents. It is largely driven by racial disparities, which directly obstruct and deconstruct our minority communities.”
I can tell you a little bit of my experience and understanding of Washington.
I know that at every step in the legal system, all else being equal, youth of color are impacted more harshly that white youth. For example, if two youth commit an equally heinous attempted homicide at the age of 14, they will both have a decline hearing (a decline hearing is when they make a decision to decline to treat you as a juvenile and prosecute you as an adult).
“Children may be tried in adult criminal court under two circumstances: a case may be either transferred (or “declined”) to adult court after a hearing before a juvenile court judge, or it may be automatically transferred with no judicial decision. WSCCR’s data analysis finds that youth of color are also over-represented in transfers to the adult criminal system. Black youth made up 31% of the transfers to adult court, while they represent only 6% of the juvenile population. Latino and Asian youth are also overrepresented in the population of youth transferred to the adult system.”
– Washington State Juvenile Justice and Racial Disproportionality Report
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