The juvenile justice system was created 120 years ago to reform and rehabilitate wayward youth to ensure they had the opportunity to achieve productive futures. To this end, it was widely accepted that juvenile system involvement should remain confidential and that all records should be sealed or eradicated to ensure youth a clean slate upon reaching adulthood. Juvenile records laws were enacted to protect the privacy of system-involved youth.
Today, however, the privacy protections afforded by juvenile records laws have hollowed out by loopholes and limitations that make confidentiality the exception more than the rule for many juvenile offenders. The broad accessibility permitted by juvenile records laws combined with technological innovation in data storage and mining make juvenile record information more available than ever. This means, more often than not, that the record of offenses children commit can be accessed by law enforcement, employers, landlords, schools and the public.
The consequences of the loss of juvenile system anonymity are far-reaching for youth and include an inability to secure housing, maintain stable employment and pursue post-secondary opportunities. The impact of these collateral consequences is supported by the data: In college admissions, 62.5% of system-involved youth were discouraged from completing college applications because of a records disclosure requirement, while 20% of applicants who disclosed records information were automatically denied admission.
Of the over 90% of employers who run background checks on applicants, over 40% reported that they would definitely or probably not hire an applicant with a record for a job not requiring a college degree, while 50% were less likely to call back or extend a job offer. Furthermore, 11% of these employers reported that even an applicant with a minor criminal infraction would not be hired. The existence of a juvenile record may also foreclose a young person and/or their entire family from securing public housing.
Black youth suffer the collateral consequences of juvenile record disclosure most severely. It is widely known that Black youth are subject to disproportionate system involvement. It is less widely recognized, however, that the records of this disproportionate system involvement enable a disproportionate level of racial discrimination long after their actual system involvement is over.
While Black youth represent only 15% of the U.S. population between the ages of 10-17, they represent 26% of all juvenile arrests and 30% of all delinquency referrals. Black youth represent 45% of all preadjudication decisions and 46% of cases transferred to adult criminal court. These records are all searchable by and available to the individuals with power to provide youth opportunities.
So why is a system intended to rehabilitate kids being used to mark them for a lifetime of discrimination?
The answer lies in the changing nature of Americas own unique brand of institutionalized racism over the last century. As a result of sweeping civil rights victories in the 1960s, America increasingly relied on the criminalization of Black people, and especially Black children, to justify continued oppression and inequality.
From the war on drugs to the myth of the child superpredator, racist stereotypes of Black people and particularly Black youth, together with discriminatory policies (like Broken Windows and stop-and-frisk) afforded white America the opportunity to transform skin color into a record of system involvement that could legally justify continued discrimination.
Harsh punishments enacted in the 1990s amplified the stakes of early system involvement mandatory sentencing schemes, youth transfer and new three strikes laws ushered in our modern era of mass incarceration. Under this system of white supremacy, juvenile records laws that afford broad access transform juvenile missteps into life sentences that serve to immobilize and disenfranchise Black communities.
In 2014, Juvenile Law Center published the first-ever comprehensive evaluation of each states juvenile records laws. The results of that study demonstrated that, as measured against best practices, over 50% of states fail to adequately protect juveniles from the consequences of juvenile records. Now, six years later, a new juvenile record scorecard report shows continued and widespread deficiencies in the protections necessary to keep juvenile records secure.
Recognizing that broad access to juvenile records advances inequality and systemic racism and holds kids back from achieving their full potential, it is imperative that every state review its records laws and take all steps necessary to protect our youths right to privacy by mandating automatic sealing and expungement of juvenile records.
Andrew Keats is a staff attorney at the Juvenile Law Center, where his work currently focuses on addressing economic justice and equity and second chances for youth in the juvenile justice system and youth tried as adults in the criminal justice system. Before that he spent a decade as a litigator with a leading global law firm in Los Angeles and New York, where he litigated a broad range of complex commercial disputes plus securities, class action, bankruptcy and real estate matters.
Read the original:
- Letter to the editor | We have lost the War on Drugs - TribDem.com - November 29th, 2020
- A live treat from The War on Drugs - Livemint - November 29th, 2020
- The War on Drugs: LIVE DRUGS (Super High Quality) - review - Under the Radar Mag - November 29th, 2020
- The Drugging of the American Mind | Opinion | Northern Express - northernexpress.com - November 29th, 2020
- Five Years Ago, White Families Called For A 'Gentler War On Drugs.' Did We Get One? - TalkingDrugs - November 29th, 2020
- New music roundup: Soft Kill, Tank and the Bangas, The War on Drugs - Columbia Daily Tribune - November 29th, 2020
- Hear the first episode of the War on Drugs Super High Quality Podcast - Far Out Magazine - November 29th, 2020
- New Indie Music: The War On Drugs, Fiona Apple, And More - UPROXX - November 29th, 2020
- Ed Forchion Wages His Own War on Drugs: Sues the State of New Jersey Over Bait and Switch Cannabis Regulation Laws - Massachusetts Newswire - November 29th, 2020
- Kip Yost: Some hard things that must be done to reduce homelessness - Salt Lake Tribune - November 29th, 2020
- Will magic mushrooms go the way of cannabis? Legalization efforts are growing - Vallejo Times-Herald - November 29th, 2020
- The War On Drugs, Kings Of Leon, Cardi B among latest Mad Cool 2021 additions - Live4ever Media - Live4ever - November 29th, 2020
- Guns, Drugs and Viral Content: Welcome to Cartel TikTok - The New York Times - November 29th, 2020
- The War on Drugs has caused more harm than good - The Maine Wire - August 6th, 2020
- Police in Floyd County have new tool to fight the war on drugs - FOX 5 Atlanta - August 6th, 2020
- The Floret Coalition Is Adapting the Giving Circle Model to Help Address the Damage of the War on Drugs - Willamette Week - August 6th, 2020
- Exposing Rodrigo Duterte's War on the Free Press - Hyperallergic - August 6th, 2020
- Fighting the Yaba Pill: The Death Toll Mounts in Bangladesh's Drug War - DER SPIEGEL - August 6th, 2020
- Guardia Civil execute huge drugs bust in the war on crime in Torrevieja - Euro Weekly News - August 6th, 2020
- Death Penalty Danger in the Philippines - Human Rights Watch - August 6th, 2020
- WE'RE IN THE MONEY, MAYBE | Cap City - Illinois Times - August 6th, 2020
- China Is Waging Cyber-Enabled Economic War on the U.S. How to Fight Back. - Barron's - August 6th, 2020
- How the Pandemic Defeated America - The Atlantic - August 6th, 2020
- The road to riches - Illinois Times - August 6th, 2020
- Dominion, Decriminalization, and Demilitarizing the Police: An Exclusive Q&A With Jennifer McClellan - rvamag.com - August 6th, 2020
- Reparations is a nonstarter in Congress. Not in this Southern city. - The Christian Science Monitor - August 6th, 2020
- Advancing Equity: Women's Crisis Center staff repeats this phrase and means it 'We are still here' - User-generated content - August 6th, 2020
- 7 of the best Steven Soderbergh films to watch right now, from crime dramas to caper comedies - Minneapolis Star Tribune - August 6th, 2020
- The hidden face of the war in Cabo Delgado - defenceWeb - August 6th, 2020
- Opinion Defining defunding the police to help our community - The CT Mirror - August 6th, 2020
- Saratoga Jewish Community Arts to present virtual panel discussion on the film '13th' - The Saratogian - July 21st, 2020
- The US 'war' on drugs - newagebd.net - July 21st, 2020
- As the War on Drugs Relentlessly Grinds On, Overdose Deaths Relentlessly Mount - Cato Institute - July 21st, 2020
- The Business of Drugs: Why The US Drug War Can NEVER Be Won - Screen Rant - July 21st, 2020
- 20 charged as part of sheriff's 'War on Drugs' - ABC 36 News - WTVQ - July 21st, 2020
- Activists take to the streets to call for marijuana legalization in N.J. - NJ.com - July 21st, 2020
- Police Murders and the War on Drugs - LA Progressive - July 21st, 2020
- Austin, Texas, Just Voted to End the Drug War - The Nation - July 21st, 2020
- The Genius Of The War On Drugs A Deeper Understanding - Guitar.com - July 21st, 2020
- Legislation Introduced That Would End Mandatory Incarceration for Nonviolent Drug Offenders - The Peoples Vanguard of Davis - July 21st, 2020
- Colombia to kick off congressional year with cocaine decriminalization bill - Colombia Reports - July 21st, 2020
- The Business of Drugs: Why Amaryllis Fox Is The Perfect Host - Screen Rant - July 21st, 2020
- How a miracle drug changed the fight against infection during World War II - The Union Leader - July 21st, 2020
- As Philippines fights coronavirus, some fear involvement of the police - Reuters - July 21st, 2020
- Netflix's The Business Of Drugs Review: Cocaine, Meth, and More | TechQuila - TechQuila - July 21st, 2020
- The People: bridging distance and differences in a pandemic - The Fulcrum - July 21st, 2020
- Covid-19 in Philippines: Police deployed to implement fresh lockdowns - The Indian Express - July 21st, 2020
- Pressure from Manipur CM Biren Singh to drop drugs case: cop to court - The Indian Express - July 21st, 2020
- The Newcastle Herald's Opinion, Thursday, July 16, 2020: What value the 'war on drugs' when substance use is 'normalised' in society? - Newcastle... - July 21st, 2020
- Decades of promised police reforms have failed to alter a culture of abuse and racism - Milwaukee Independent - July 21st, 2020
- Lessons From a Global Reckoning: D.C. Looks to Make 14-Year-Old Social Studies Standards More Inclusive as Cities Nationwide Grapple With Re-Engaging... - July 21st, 2020
- Philippines war on drugs may have killed tens of thousands, says UN - The Guardian - June 6th, 2020
- Trump Reelection Campaign Attacks Biden As 'Architect' Of The War On Drugs - Marijuana Moment - June 6th, 2020
- Dan Adams On The Racist War On Drugs, And Why Equity Licensing Matters - wgbh.org - June 6th, 2020
- The Man Who Started the War on Drugs - OZY - June 6th, 2020
- From Iceland Iceland-Backed UN Report Condemns Filipino Government's War On Drugs - Reykjavk Grapevine - June 6th, 2020
- How American Race Relations Shaped Lives of Current, Former Seahawks - Sports Illustrated - June 6th, 2020
- Gardai start special war on drugs operation in Finglas as 'horrific' day time images surface online - Dublin Live - June 6th, 2020
- Change comes from marching in streets and to the ballot box - Rockford Register Star - June 6th, 2020
- Decades of Americas drug wars led up to the riots of today - RT - June 6th, 2020
- Defund the Police - The Atlantic - June 6th, 2020
- The right is trying to link George Soros and George Floyd protests. Don't let it. - NBC News - June 6th, 2020
- Calum Marsh: Defunding the police isn't radical. It's so lucid it's a wonder it took a movement to catch on - National Post - June 6th, 2020
- It's a war on the poor why the war on drugs is still sweeping the globe - Morning Star Online - May 29th, 2020
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Where is NAACP's outrage toward abortion, black-on-black crime? - Anniston Star - May 29th, 2020
- In this documentary, Duterte's drug war is a hunt for the aswang - CNN Philippines - May 29th, 2020
- Colombia to receive US Army unit on June 1 for counter-narcotics support - The City Paper Bogot - May 29th, 2020
- No time to be selling arms to the Philippines | TheHill - The Hill - May 29th, 2020
- The battle of COVID in the 'quiet war' on China | TheHill - The Hill - May 29th, 2020
- Stevenson: We have to find ways to create more equality, more opportunity, more justice - Harvard Law School News - May 29th, 2020
- US declares a vaccine war on the world - Asia Times - May 29th, 2020
- Here's new movies and shows to stream in June on Netflix, HBO Max, Hulu and Prime Video - Tulsa World - May 29th, 2020
- Kalen & Aslyn Narrate and Rekindle Their Love on Girlfriend - American Songwriter - May 29th, 2020
- Editorial: On Memorial Day, we recognize our collective debt - Los Angeles Times - May 29th, 2020
- Fighting Addiction and a Pandemic to Keep St. Louis' Unhoused Alive - Riverfront Times - May 29th, 2020
- NMS hires 225 medics in heightened war on Covid-19 - The Star, Kenya - May 29th, 2020
- War on Drugs - Timeline in America, Definition & Facts ... - May 24th, 2020
- A Hidden Origin Story of the CBD Craze - The New York Times - May 24th, 2020
- War Metaphors and the Return to Campus | Confessions of a Community College Dean - Inside Higher Ed - May 24th, 2020
- Police bust over one ton of drugs in SE Iran - Mehr News Agency - English Version - May 24th, 2020