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African-American Girls Are Shockingly Overrepresented In Washington, D.C.’s Juvenile Justice System

Black girls in Washington, D.C. are over 30 times more likely to be arrested than white girls and boys, according to a disquieting new report about the state of juvenile justice in our nation’s capital.

The new report, “Beyond The Walls: A Look At Girls In D.C.’s Juvenile Justice System,” sheds light on the stark discrepancies and overrepresentation of black girls in the District of Columbia’s juvenile justice system.

Authored by the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Initiative and nonprofit Rights4Girls, the report found that a whopping 97 percent of girls committed into the custody of D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitative Services are black, and some 60 percent of girls arrested in the district are under the age of 15 years old.

While boys’ arrests have fallen, girls’ arrests have nearly doubled in the last ten years, and 86 percent of those arrests are for nonviolent charges, according to the report.

“The combination of sexism and racism uniquely affects black girls’ entry and outcomes in the juvenile justice system,” the report says.

Shockingly, the clearest indicators of sexual exploitation are the some of the most utilized charges filed against the girls, like truancy, running away, prostitution and violating curfew, according to the report.


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