AS A BLACK FATHER, I was alarmed to learn what government studies consistently show. For black children, the most basic rights and freedoms can be elusive. This is especially true in public institutions such as schools and courts. And as a black father, it is heartbreaking to know that my children could be treated differently simply because of the color of their skin.
Unfortunately, a string of government studies has shown that black children are, in fact, treated differently. The latest, a scathing Justice Department report on the juvenile-justice system in St. Louis County, Mo., found that when black youth get in trouble, they are treated more harshly than whites.
Based on a 20-month investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the report looked at 33,000 cases over three years. The report said, “Black children are disproportionately represented in decisions to: formally charge youth versus handle matters informally; detain youth pretrial; commit youth to Division of Youth Services custody; and place youth in a secure Division of Youth Services facility after conviction.
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Solomon Jones is an Essence bestselling author and award-winning columnist. He is the creator and editor of Solomonjones.com and morning host on 900 am WURD radio. Click here to learn more about Solomon.