Reducing Racial & Ethnic Disparities

Awareness to Action

The pursuit of racial justice requires envisioning and implementing equity and fairness in the transformation of the juvenile justice system. The commitment to equity and fairness includes viable initiatives and sustainable solutions in understanding awareness, facts, and action.   

The Office of Juvenile Justice’s Awareness, Facts, and Action Initiative objective is to: 

  • deepen awareness on disparate circumstances and situations experienced by youth of color,
  • leverage facts with data and evidence-based practices, and 
  • aspire individual and collective action to transform the juvenile justice system.

Data continues to show that racial and ethnic disparities persist at every point in the juvenile justice system in our state and across the nation. The youth of color are statistically overrepresented in the number arrested, detained, and processed through the juvenile justice system.

Disparities based on race and ethnicity are the social construct process rooted in the byproducts and complexities of systematic racism. The historical context on race makes it clear that disparities in the juvenile justice system illuminate a legacy of the country’s history with segregation, discrimination, and mistreatment of racialized communities. The functioning of a just and fair justice system is under threat if we fail to address implicit or explicit bias within the system, policies or practices that burden youth of color, and structural inequalities such as poverty and lack of access to quality schools and health care.

Addressing racial and ethnic disparities is not always easy. The good news is that progress can and has been made by systems and communities working together to help reduce or even eliminate disparities.  The Office of Juvenile Justice’s Awareness, Facts, and Action Initiative call for individual and collective action in transforming the juvenile justice system.