Minority youth are overrepresented in all stages of the juvenile justice system.
While juvenile minorities make up 67.3 percent of the population, they make up 70.9 percent of the juveniles arrested, 71.6 percent of those turned over to other law enforcement branches, 92.2 percent of those with direct file in adult court, 76.3 percent of those placed in a secure county facility, 84.1 percent of those found unfit for trial and 84.3 percent of those found fit for trial (3.5 times as many Hispanics as Whites had a hearing).
1996 Study by Justice Policy Institute found that compared to Whites, African Americans were five times more likely to be arrested for felonies, seven times more likely to be sent to prison, and 13 times more likely to be sentenced under the State’s “Three Strikes” law.
A study by Hamparian and Lieber showed that California had the highest number of juveniles (19,567) in custody in public facilities. Minorities comprised 53.4% of the youth population statewide, but they accounted for 59% of all juveniles arrested, almost 64% of the juveniles held in secure detention and 70% of the juveniles placed in secure corrections.
Compared to White youth, minority youth are 2.8 times as likely to be arrested for violent crimes, 6.2 times as likely to end up in adult court, and 7 times as likely to be sent to prison by adult courts.
Relative to White youth, Hispanic youth are 2.3 times as likely, African American youth 6.7 times as likely and Asian/other youth 1.3 times as likely to be arrested for a violent offense. After transfer to and prosecution in the adult system, Hispanic youth offenders wind up being 7.3 times more likely, African American youth offenders 18.4 times more likely and Asian youth offenders 4.5 times more likely to be sentenced by an adult court to CYA confinement.
African American youthful offenders are 4.4 times as likely and Hispanic and Asian youth offenders are 3.8 times as likely to be sentenced to CYA confinement than are white youth offenders.
Whites represent 15.5% of juvenile court sentencing to CYA confinement but only 8.9 % of adult court sentencing to CYA. Minority youth are 77% of violent crime arrestees 84.5% of CYA sentencing. 91.1% of CYA sentencing.
Minority youths are 8.3 times more likely to be sentenced to an adult court to imprisonment in a CYA facility.
White youth comprised 30% of the CYA population in 1980 and in 1998 they were 14%. Hispanic youth have risen from 30% to 49% over the same period. The CYA predicts Hispanic youth will represent 65% of the CYA population within the next several years.
Los Angeles County
In 1996, whites comprised 25%, Hispanics 51%, African Americans 13% and Asians and other races 11% of the county’s population between ages 10 and 17. However, Los Angeles Probation Department data reveal that Hispanic, African American, and Asian/other youth accounted for 95% of the cases where youth were found unfit for juvenile court and transferred to adult court
Hispanic youth accounted for the largest percentage of cases found unfit (59%). Hispanic youth are six times more likely, African American youth are 12 times more likely and Asian/other youth three times more likely than White youth to be found unfit for juvenile court and transferred to adult court in Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles’ transfer rates to adult court for minority violence arrestees are double that for White violence arrestees.