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Report: Black Youths More Likely to End Up in Justice System
By Associated Press  
Published December 27, 2021

Incarcerated people looking out of small jail window.

A new report says ‘Black youths in Virginia were more than twice as likely to be referred to the state’s juvenile justice system compared to their white peers.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the state-sponsored report offers a far-reaching examination into how the state handles young offenders. It was conducted by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission and sent to the state legislature and governor.

The analysis also found that many teens in the state fail to get quality legal representation. Recidivism is high because rehabilitation programs are ineffective. And officials are paying for facilities where 70 percent of beds are unoccupied.

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The findings come at a time when the number of teens in statewide programs and detention centers has fallen more than 70 percent over the past 10 years.

The report recommends closing Virginia’s last juvenile prison and replacing it with smaller facilities across the state. The change would allow teens to be closer to their parents and provide more space for treatment.

The report did offer some good news. It found that a plan put in place by state lawmakers in 2016 had reduced the number of teens in the system and cut recidivism rates for low-risk offenders.

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