Home News Center New Reports Reveal Discriminatory Juvenile Justice Practices in Tennessee and Nebraska

New Reports Reveal Discriminatory Juvenile Justice Practices in Tennessee and Nebraska

May 1, 2012
Omote Ekwotafia

In a recently released report, the U.S. Department of Justice documented that young black children in the juvenile justice system in Memphis, Tennessee, were more likely than white children to be detained and even tried as adults -- for the same crimes. After a review of over 60,000 Memphis juvenile court cases, the report found "serious and systematic" failures not only based on race, but on a failure to protect the due process rights of youth. The report does not recommend any official action against the juvenile court and juvenile court officials have began moving to remedy discriminatory practices.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Juvenile Justice Institute recently released results of a study concluding that minority children in Nebraska receive disproportionately harsh treatment in the juvenile justice system. Researchers conducted the federally mandated study on behalf of the Nebraska Crime Commission and found Black, Hispanic and Native American children are more likely to be arrested, prosecuted and jailed.

Although the co-authors of the study, Anne Hobbs and Elizabeth Neeley, did not evaluate how socioeconomic factors or prior court records influence racial disparity, they hope to study those factors soon.

Former Omaha Police Chief Thomas Warren stated that he hoped the study would drive Nebraska to reform the way it treats children of color in the juvenile justice system.

Read NJJN's policy platform on racial and ethnic disparities »

 

Photo: DonkeyHotey, under Creative Commons License

 

<- Go Back