Keeping youth out of the criminal justice system

Addressing challenges that disproportionately affect Latinos

Racial and ethnic minority youth are disproportionately represented in the country’s juvenile justice system and treated more harshly than their White peers who commit the same offenses. These youth face significant barriers that decrease their likelihood for success as adults even after they have served their time.

We support state and federal legislation to reduce the number of youth in the criminal justice system and increase their opportunities after they are released from detention. At the state level, the California Fair Sentencing—which eliminates the disparity criminal penalties against persons charged with possession of crack cocaine versus powder cocaine—is a positive step in addressing challenges that disproportionately affect Latinos.