Harper’s Magazine

Mr. Richard Ross is a representative for Harper’s Magazine. He came to interview me. The reason I agreed to the interview was it dealt with preventive ways of stopping child incarceration.  Afterall as a parent, my beloved daughter was sentenced to a juvenile facility. Mr. Ross armed me with a mic and a small recorder and questioned me for about one hour. I talked about my childhood, the physical and mental abuse I endured. I further mentioned poverty as another key element to why children commit crimes. You can read the text of the interview here:

The interview is also available as an audio.

You can also read my blog Childhood Incarceration 

Childhood incarceration
Childhood incarceration

Mr. Richard Ross is a photographer, researcher and professor of art,  based in Santa Barbara, California. He has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Annie E. Casey  and MacArthur Foundations. Mr. Ross is also initiator of Juvenile in Justice to facilitate better outcomes for the 53.000+ children in custody every day. 

If you are interested in the facts please read the information of The Children Defense Fund

‘The Children’s Defense Fund envisions a nation where marginalized children flourish, leaders prioritize their well-being and communities wield the power to assure they thrive. To realize this vision, we pursue a movement-building and institutional growth strategy to build power for child centered public policy, informed by racial equity and the lived experience of children and youth. Our Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. We serve and advocate for the largest, most diverse generation in America: the 73 million children and youth under the age of 18 and 30 million young adults under the age of 25, with particular attention to those living in poverty and communities of color’.

State of America’s Children

The Children Defense Fund published the report ‘State of America’s Children 2021′. Chapter 10 refers to Youth Justice.  Some of the facts mentioned in their report are:

  • In 2019, 696,620 children were arrested in the U.S. (see Table 32). A child or teen was arrested every 45 seconds despite a 62 percent reduction in child arrests between 2009 and 2019;
  • Children of color, particularly Black children, continue to be over criminalized and overrepresented at every point—from school discipline and arrest to sentencing and post-adjudication placements. Although 63 percent of children arrested in the U.S. were white, American Indian children were 1.5 times more likely to be arrested and Black children were 2.4 times more likely to be arrested than white children;
  • In 2017, the residential placement rate for children of color was two times higher than that of white children nationwide: Hispanic children were 1.4 times more likely, American Indian children were 2.8 times more likely, and Black children were 4.6 times more likely to be committed or detained than white children. In 18 states and the District of Columbia, the residential placement rate for children of color was four times higher than that of white children;
  • Two-thirds (67 percent) of children in the juvenile justice system were children of color: 41 percent were Black and 21 percent were Hispanic (see Table 34);
  • Children of color are also disproportionately transferred to the adult criminal justice system, where they are tried and prosecuted as adults. In 2018, Black youth represented less than 15 percent of the total youth population but 52 percent of youth prosecuted in adult criminal court. Black youth are nine times more likely than white youth to receive an adult prison sentence, American Indian/Alaska Native youth are almost two times more likely, and Hispanic youth are 40 percent more likely;
  • Risks are heightened for children in the adult criminal justice system, which is even more focused on punishment rather than rehabilitation and treatment. Children in adult jails are more likely to suffer permanent trauma and are five times more likely to die by suicide than children held in juvenile detention centers;
  • 1,909 are arrested each day in the U.S. The number of children arrested and incarcerated has declined over the past decade, largely due to positive changes in policy and practice. However, America’s children continue to be criminalized at alarming rates and disparities have persisted. Many children—particularly children in poverty; children of color; children with disabilities; children with mental health and substance abuse challenges; children subjected to neglect, abuse, and/or other violence; children in foster care; and LGBTQ children—are pushed out of their schools and homes into the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice systems.

For a complete insight please check the report at their website here: State-of-Americas-Children

Derrick L. Griffin, 10-06-2021