December 19, 2016
Newark, NJ — Even as the number of confined youth in New Jersey has decreased by more than half, extreme racial inequalities persist within the juvenile justice system. Black youth comprise nearly 75% of those committed to state juvenile facilities, according to a new report released by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a leading legal organization on behalf New Jersey’s urban communities.
“New Jersey has taken steps to reform its juvenile justice system, but it is clear there is more to do. The fact that young people of color are confined in New Jersey at disproportionately high rates compared to their counterparts is cause for concern. We have to examine steps we can take to improve programs and services to keep youth out of the criminal justice system, with attention to minority youth,” said Senator Nellie Pou (D-Passaic). “Focusing on community-based services can be an effective means of leading youth to become productive and successful, rather than stuck in a cycle of incarceration. I am committed to working with the Institute of Social Justice, partners in the community and my colleagues to improve the system and outcomes for our residents.”