The Department of Justice first released a report about the court on April 26, 2012, finding discrimination against African-American children, unsafe confinement conditions and failures to provide due process to youth appearing for proceedings.
According to an assessment study dated July 1 and recently posted to the court’s website, many of the issues that led to the agreement with the DOJ have continued to be present over the last 47 months. The court has “taken ownership and has made strides” but black youth are still treated differently and disproportionate contact with minority children remains a problem for the court, according to the study.
“Continued evidence also suggests that race still impacts decision-making even after factors such as the severity of the crime are taken into consideration,” the study found.
The court has shown a greater commitment to address disproportionate minority contact, wrote Michael Leiber, a professor of criminology at the University of South Florida, in his latest report.
However, “this ownership and efforts on the part of the Juvenile Court have yet to yield significant changes in (disproportionate minority contact) and greater equity in the handling of youth and in particular, black youth,” he wrote