// black kids // white kids

Race Matters

Racial and ethnic disparities permeate the juvenile justice system in Massachusetts. The data shows us that Black and Latino children are more likely to be arrested, detained, and committed, while white children get to use off-ramps (like diversion) more than others. The Sentencing Project shows Massachusetts to be one of 6 states where black youth are at least 10 times as likely to be locked up as white youth, while data from the Burns Institute ranks Massachusetts 46th worst out of 50 states for our particularly high racial and ethnic disparities in youth incarceration rates.

The data shows that black and white children move differently through our juvenile justice system differently. For example, while only 38% of white children who were arrested got arraigned, 64% of arrested black youth did. Much higher proportions of black children move further into the system as well, whereas more white children accessed off-ramps such provided by clerk magistrates or District Attorneys.

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MA Population, Ages 7 - 17: Arrested:

White: 68% White: 59%
Black: 9% Black: 20%
Hispanic: 16% Hispanic: 20%
Asian: 7% Asian: 1%

Detained: Committed:

White: 30% White: 26%
Black: 30% Black: 35%
Hispanic: 39% Hispanic: 38%
Asian: 1% Asian: 1%