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Opponents of latest AR state tax cuts say they benefit wealthy Arkansans; Julian Assange agrees to a plea deal that would allow him to avoid imprisonment in US; Tech-based carbon-capture projects make headway in local government; NV nonprofit calls Biden's student debt initiatives economic justice.

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Charges against fake electors in Nevada are dismissed, Milwaukee officials get ready to expect the unexpected at the RNC convention, and the Justice Department says Alaska is violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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A Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival while rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town and prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands.

Expert: Racial disparities persist in youth incarceration

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Tuesday, December 26, 2023   

New data released by The Sentencing Project reveals youths of color continue to face disproportionate incarceration rates compared with their white peers.

In Nevada, Black youths are almost 4.5 times more likely to be incarcerated than white youths, and Latino youths face a lesser disparity.

Joshua Rovner, director of youth justice for The Sentencing Project, said the good news is fewer youths are being locked up compared with a decade ago but more needs to be done to address persistent racial disparities.

"I think that there are some lessons to be learned here that we are capable of locking up fewer kids," Rovner pointed out. "But what we seem to be unable to do is to bring down those disparities of the likelihood of incarceration."

The Sentencing Project contended incarceration is not an effective strategy in a majority of delinquency cases and instead supports alternatives such as mentorship programs, therapy and other "homegrown alternatives." Rovner argued alternative-to-incarceration programs lead to better public safety outcomes at lower costs and do far less damage to young people's futures.

Rovner added young people who are held in detention centers will eventually be going home and be reintegrated into their communities. He contended the question then becomes how will they go home and thrive.

"It's not only about a public-safety argument," Rovner asserted. "Though I think it is very important to recognize that kids who are held in these facilities are in fact more likely to reoffend and more likely to reoffend on a more serious charge the next time."

Rovner argued the nation's political system should do better to listen to directly affected people and communities, and he encouraged elected leaders to spend time in facilities to see the conditions in which youths are held firsthand. He added juveniles commit offenses for a number of reasons, many times due to systemic issues.

"Sometimes they cause violence and cause damage to their communities that none of us should be tolerating or living with," Rovner acknowledged. "But I think that we really need to ask, 'What is it that is driving their offending and what is it that is going to help cure those problems?'"


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