Despite a decline of youth incarceration and confinement between 1999 to 2013, more than two-thirds of younger prisoners are minorities, according to a new study from the Justice Department's Office of Juvenille Justice and Delinquency Program.
The study said over that 14-year period, youth incarceration and confinement declined 50 percent. However, minorities still make up 68 percent of that population: 40 percent are black, and 23 percent are Hispanic.
The analysis also found that the majority of incarcerated youth are locked up for offenses like truancy, running away, underage drinking and technical violations.
"This new analysis underscores the urgent need for the nation's governors and state policymakers, as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, to redouble their efforts to eliminate the most racially disparate point in the juvenile justice system: youth prisons," said Liz Ryan, president of Youth First, a national advocacy campaign that seeks to end youth prisons and reduce youth confinement.
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday passed the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would restrict the use of solitary confinement for juvenille offenders, among other things.