The Potluck

Minnesota’s racial disparities in juvenile detention among nation’s worst, new report says

By: - July 19, 2021 2:38 pm

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Minnesota’s racial disparities in juvenile detention were among the nation’s worst in 2019, according to newly released data from the national advocacy group The Sentencing Project.

Indigenous youth were nearly 12 times more likely than white youth to be sent to juvenile detention or treatment facilities in Minnesota, according to the report. Black youth were over eight times more likely than white youth to face detention, and Latino youth were 2.7 times more likely.

Minnesota’s racial disparities for Black youth were the ninth-widest in the nation, and the sixth-highest for Latino youth. The analysis of detention rates for Indigenous youth didn’t include all 50 states.

Across the country, more than 36,000 people under 21 were held at 1,510 group homes, detention and treatment facilities in 2019, according to the report. That included 948 youth in residential facilities in Minnesota.

Malaika Eban, a member of the Minnesota Coalition for Youth Justice, said in a statement that the data should “outrage” Minnesotans. The coalition, which is staffed by the Legal Rights Center, is pushing for the state to implement strategies aimed at reducing the number of youth of color in correctional facilities. 

“This data shows that the disparity reduction efforts and reforms happening statewide are not sufficient,” Eban said. “This is the moment for us to reimagine and take a more transformative approach to supporting youth in our communities.”

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn is a Minnesota native and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.