Confronting Bias in the Juvenile Justice System

Confronting Bias in the Juvenile Justice System by Gary Gately

To read this article on the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange website, click here.

In the ABC News video, the white youth and the black youth both appear to be trying to do the same thing: steal a bike in broad daylight in a community park. But the two actors playing thieves, both filmed by hidden cameras at different times, get decidedly different reactions from passers-by.

The video illustrates bias perhaps better than a stack of studies could do, and it led to spirited discussion Tuesday at a workshop on confronting racial and ethnic bias in the juvenile justice system at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s eighth annual Models for Change National Working Conference.

Whether through “disproportionate minority contact” or unequal treatment in the juvenile judicial process, young people of color often face bias, panelists and audience members agreed.