Black children in New York City 32 times more likely to be incar
Task Force demands policymakers take immediate steps to reduce racial dispari
05.20.2009 – PRESS CONTACT INFORMATION:
Mishi Faruqee, Children’s Defense Fund-NY
While other cities in the nation have taken on the problem of over-representation of
youth of color in their juvenile justice system, New York City has not made progress
in reducing the glaring disparities in arrest, prosecution and incarceration of young
people of color.
Racial disparities in arrest and incarceration exist in communities across New York
State, but the problem is most pronounced in New York City. According to the New
York State Office of Children and Family Services, black children in New York City are
31.8 times as likely, and Hispanic children are 16.4 times as likely, as white children
to be incarcerated in youth correctional facilities. In the rest of the state, black
children are 11.5 times likelier and Hispanic children are 4.8 times likelier than
white children to be confined in youth prisons.
"As the primary defense counsel for children in New York City, we see all too clearly
that the children that are being charged, prosecuted and sentenced are almost
exclusively children of color, and usually for little more than normative teen behavior,
behavior which results in school or home discipline for white middle class children,"
said Tamara Steckler, Attorney-in-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice at the Legal
Aid Society in New York City.
In New York City, the police department has significantly increased arrests and
processing of children of color for misdemeanor offenses such as graffiti, failing to
carry identification in public housing, or riding the subway without paying the fare.
The Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) reports that between 2005 and
2007, misdemeanor arrests of black youth in New York City increased 19.7% and
misdemeanor arrests of Hispan