Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release


Press Release

Black Youth 5x More Likely To Be Incarcerated Than White Youth


The advancement of racial justice has eluded youth decarceration efforts in the United States. A new report from The Sentencing Project reviews 10 years of youth incarceration data and finds the persistence of racial and ethnic disparities.

In an era in which youth incarceration has dropped by half, African American and American Indian youth remain roughly five times and three times as likely, respectively, as their white peers to be incarcerated. Latinx youth are also more likely to be incarcerated, but the disparities are shrinking and not as stark. In state rankings, New Jersey warrants special mention due to its number one and number three status for highest Black-white and Latinx-white disparities in youth incarceration, respectively.

"Even as incarceration falls, youth of color are still being treated more harshly than their white peers," said Josh Rovner, Senior Advocacy Associate and the author of Racial Disparities in Youth Incarceration Persist. "States and counties must tackle their racial and ethnic disparities head on."

The report offers recommendations to confront racism in the juvenile justice system:

  • Utilize racial impact statements to educate policymakers about changes in sentencing or law enforcement policies and practices;
  • Collect and disseminate demographic data on the number of incarcerated or justice-system involved youth more frequently;
  • Invest heavily in community programs that address inequality at the earliest stages

Read the full report here.


The Sentencing Project is a leader in changing the way Americans think about crime and punishment. The Sentencing Project promotes effective and humane responses to crime that minimize imprisonment and criminalization of youth and adults by promoting racial, ethnic, economic, and gender justice.

Human Rights Defenders Warn Biden Border Policy 'Quickly Transforming Into Trump 2.0'

Like his predecessor, President Joe Biden now being accused of "using racist, xenophobic tropes about immigrants to weaponize Covid-19 against migrants and asylum-seekers."

Jon Queally ·

'Bombshell': Israeli Spyware Used to Hack iPhones of US State Department Officials

Calling the Israel-based spyware maker NSO Group an "in-plain-sight national security threat," one expert warned that "a multi-agency investigation is immediately needed."

Jessica Corbett ·

US Progressive Caucus Hails Honduran Election as Chance for 'New Chapter' in Relations

"We encourage the Biden administration to use this opportunity to make a clean break with previous presidential administrations, which worked to ensure that the 2009 coup d'état succeeded."

Brett Wilkins ·

'The Facts of This Case Are So Egregious': Parents of Michigan School Shooter Charged in Killings

"There were a lot of things that could have been so simple to prevent," the Oakland County prosecutor said of the mother and father now being sought by law enforcement.

Kenny Stancil ·

Health Minister Says 'Highly Transmissible' Omicron Hitting Young Children Hard in South Africa

In South Africa's worst-affected province, children under the age of five now make up the second-largest group being admitted to hospitals.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo