According to a scathing report released yesterday by the Justice Department, the Memphis and Shelby County juvenile justice system routinely treats black youth more harshly than their white counterparts.

The report states that black youth are “treated disparately in almost all phases of the juvenile court process;” they are twice as likely to be detained, less likely to receive warnings or leniency, and are more likely to be sent to criminal court and tried as adults. The report also found that black youth received harsher treatment even if their grades or criminal histories were better than their white peers.

And Memphis is not alone. According to officials at the Justice Department, juvenile justice systems in cities across the United States have similar issues.


“‘The challenges confronting the system in Memphis exist in many communities across America,’ Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, said in prepared statements. .

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Democrat who represents Memphis, said he was glad to see that the juvenile court is working to rectify the problems.

‘I feel confident that (the judge) will work with the Justice Department and remedy any failures,’ Cohen said.”


Are you surprised by the results of this report?

How do we fight the institutional racism that continues to criminalize and demonize our youth?

Sound off below!