Two nations – separate and unequal. While this statement is based on an epic book (Savage Inequalities) by Jonathan Kozol, it reflects the reality that racial and ethnic minority youth who are involved in juvenile justice system programs experience daily. Since the adaptation of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act of 1974, jurisdictions have been required to assess disparate treatment of racial and ethnic minority compared to non-Hispanic White youth at nine particular stages of the juvenile justice system. Federal data, however, indicate that disparities across all areas of the juvenile justice continue, with significantly higher rates of arrest, adjudication, and waiver to adult courts among racial and ethnic minority youth.
Youth of Latino ancestry face additional challenges. However, there is a dearth of information on disparate treatment across youth of Latino ancestry, specifically. Evidenced based programs have tended to neglect Latino youth in the development of models. As well, there is lack of attention to adapting existing interventions to meet the unique needs of Latino youth from different ancestries (e.g., Mexican, Bolivian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, etc.).
Dr. Francisco (Chico) Villarruel provided testimony at the July 29th Congressional Briefing on how “tough on crime” legislation has exacerbated disproportional outcomes for Latino youth. Sponsored by Representative Cardenas (CA) and organized by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), panelist summarized issues and evolving efforts to address the challenges that Latino youth and their families experience when involved with juvenile justice system programs. Click here to read Dr. Villarruel’s full testimony.
Dr. Francisco (Chico) Villarruel