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 DJJ’s 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-Dade’s 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 state’s 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 state’s “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.”

To obtain Florida juvenile statistics, click here.




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Law Offices of the Public Defender
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida


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