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“These racialized policies, in a material way, are modern day vestiges of American slavery, the convict leasing era that followed, and the more recent reference to ‘super-predators,’ each of which have undermined the right of Black youth to be viewed as and treated as children.”

Institute Associate Counsel Andrea McChristian, primary author of Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child

In December 2016, the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice released a report on the staggering racial disparities in New Jersey’s youth prisons, Bring Our Children Home: Ain’t I A Child. They found that while fewer youth are being incarcerated, staggering racial disparities persist. In New Jersey, Black kids are, incredibly, 24.3 times more likely to be committed to a secure juvenile facility than their white counterparts even though Black and white children have similar rates of offending.  Hispanic young people are 5.4 times more likely to be sent to a juvenile facility than their white peers. New Jersey has the third-highest Black-white commitment disparity rate in the nation: of the 289 young people currently committed to a state juvenile facility, three-quarters (73%) of them are Black. Racial disparities infect every part of the system, including which children are waived from juvenile to adult court in New Jersey. According to WNYC’s 2016 report, “Kids in Prison,” almost 90 percent of youth prosecuted as adults in New Jersey are Black or Hispanic. Black students – even as young as pre-school – are more likely than their white peers to face suspension. For more information on the school-to-prison pipeline, please click here.

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