There’s been a sharp decline in the number of young people jailed in New Jersey. Andrea McChristian with the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice says it didn’t come without racial disparities.
“In the nation, New Jersey has the worst black to white racial disparity rate. We have the second worst Latino to white youth incarceration rate in the nation, only coming behind Wisconsin.”
McChristian says as of June 2017, there are 234 inmates in New Jersey’s youth prisons. About seventy-percent of them are African American.
“Youth incarceration and incarceration as a whole are a racial justice issue. If we were seeing for example the same sympathy for our kids of color that we are seeing with other children in terms of the opioid crisis, this would be a national issue. If these were white kids locked away in these youth prisons at these alarming rates, it would be a national issue on everyone’s tongue.”