Published on: Thursday, October 12, 2017

Today the Sentencing Project released its report on Latino Disparities in Youth Incarceration.  Based on recently released Department of Justice data from 2015, Latino youth are 65 percent more likely to be detained or committed than their white peers.  Latino youth’s placement rate is 142 per 100,000, compared to white youth’s rate of 86 per 100,000.  While the data shows a modest improvement in the 75 percent Latino disparity that existed in 2001, the publication notes that overall juvenile placements fell 54 percent since 2001 for whites, blacks, and Latinos, but that white placements fell to a greater degree than other groups, reflecting an increase in racial disparities since the turn of the century.  Further, the publication notes its conclusion should be viewed with caution due to “limitations in collection of Latino data throughout the justice system,” such as undercounting by some states who report Latinos as whites.  Among the publications key findings; Latino youth are at least three times as likely to be held in placement as are white youth in eight states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, South Carolina, Montana, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Utah and Rhode Island); and in three states (Maryland, Virginia, and Wisconsin), the disparity between Latino and white youth more than doubled. 

 A summary of the publication is available here.   Defender services provides training materials about strategies for litigating race in the criminal justice system.