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Miami-Dade's racial disparities in youth arrests: MDEAT report proposes urgent reforms

MDEAT and University of Miami study exposes disturbing trends in juvenile justice and youth arrests, prompting calls for action

A recent comprehensive report commissioned by the Miami-Dade Economic Advocacy Trust (MDEAT) and the University of Miami has revealed alarming racial disparities in youth arrests within Miami-Dade County. Despite an overall decline in youth arrests over the years, the report paints a troubling picture of the persistent overrepresentation of Black youth within the juvenile justice system. With urgent calls for change, the report's findings highlight the need for comprehensive strategies to address the root causes of racial disproportionality in youth arrests.

Unveiling troubling disparities in youth arrests

The report, a collaborative effort between MDEAT and the Community and Educational Well-Being Research Center (CEWRC) of the University of Miami School of Education and Human Development, has uncovered unsettling truths about the state of juvenile justice in Miami-Dade County. Racial disproportionality remains a pervasive issue, with Black youth accounting for a staggering 58% of all youth arrests despite constituting only 17-18% of the youth population. In 2022, an even starker statistic emerged, with Black male youths comprising 52% of all arrests despite representing just 9% of the 10-17-year-old population.

Marcus Bright, the youth services administrator at MDEAT, emphasized that any wrong arrest and misstep can subject youth to discrimination in education, employment, and housing. Hence, MDEAT has set forth ambitious policy recommendations to combat this trend and ensure prosperity.

Two police officers interrogating two black boys

Proposed solutions for lasting change

In response to the distressing findings, MDEAT has put forward a series of policy recommendations aimed at combating the deeply rooted racial disparities in youth arrests. Some of the proposed solutions include the establishment of permanent criminal justice disparities task forces, the implementation of consistent and high-quality implicit bias training for law enforcement officers, and the requirement of a licensed mental health coordinator at each public school.

Additionally, MDEAT is advocating for the adoption of the 'Police Questioning of Juveniles Act' and the utilization of mediation where appropriate for juvenile offenses.

Interested individuals can learn more about the MDEAT policy recommendations available at MDEAT hopes to create an equitable and fair juvenile justice system for youth.

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