U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said this week the Department of Justice would put a priority on improving the nation’s juvenile justice system. In a speech to the National Association of Counties Legislative Conference, Holder said the Department would place an emphasis on forming community partnerships and using evidence-based research in dealing with the issue.
The attorney general also told the conference that it was time to answer some difficult questions concerning crime and race and the treatment of children.
“Why,” Holder asked, “is it that, although African-American youth make up 16 percent of the overall youth population, they make up more than half of the juvenile population arrested for committing a violent crime? Why is it that abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely than their non-abused and non-neglected peers to be arrested for criminal behavior? And why is that so many of those who enter our juvenile justice system either can’t afford – or do not know to ask for – access to legal guidance?”
Read the full speech at http://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/ag/speeches/2011/ag-speech-110307.html.