Ted C. Tollett presenting the latest
DJJ data at the training conference.
Black youth overrepresented in adult criminal court
Miami, FL March 30, 2000 Black children are more likely to be prosecuted in adult criminal court than white or Hispanic children, according to new figures released by the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) at a national conference sponsored by Miami-Dade Public Defender Bennett H. Brummer.
You have dramatic over-representation of black children in adult court, said
Ted C. Tollett, chief of DJJs Bureau of Data and Research. He made his remarks before more than 300 attorneys, social workers, judges and police officers from all over Florida and the United States attending the conference on juvenile transfers.
Non-white children between the ages of 10 and 17 make up 33% of Miami-Dades population for that age group. Yet, black youth account for 63% of the transfers to adult court, he said.
Overall Miami-Dade youth is over-represented in adult court, according to the new data. Even though Miami-Dade has 11% of the states juvenile delinquent population, the county accounts for 20% of the state transfers to adult court.
The number of juveniles sentenced to state prison is expected to rise even higher because of bills approved by the Legislature that would expand the states 10-20-Life law to many 16- and 17-year-olds. The bills prohibit the use of juvenile rehabilitation programs for juveniles prosecuted as adults under the new law.
While these numbers are shocking, they do not come as a complete surprise, Mr. Brummer said. Our staff works hard every day to keep children out of adult court and steer them to programs to help them become productive citizens.
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