Center for American Progress

Our Juvenile Justice System Is Failing LGBTQ Youth
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Our Juvenile Justice System Is Failing LGBTQ Youth

Laura E. Durso and Naomi Goldberg discuss how the U. S. juvenile justice system fails LGBTQ youth and what needs to be done to better serve this vulnerable population.

About 7 to 9 percent of young people in the United States identify as LGBTQ or gender-nonconforming. But recent research finds that percentage doubles among youth in juvenile justice facilities—and that these facilities are neglecting to keep LGBTQ youth safe or meet even their most basic needs, from housing to health care.

More than 54,000 youth in America currently are held in a juvenile justice facility. Most youth in these facilities are boys, and Black youth are greatly overrepresented—trends that bear a striking resemblance to the country’s adult prison population. As many as 40 percent of girls and 14 percent of boys in the juvenile justice system identify as LGBTQ or gender-nonconforming. Eighty-five percent of LGBTQ youth behind bars identify as youth of color.

The above excerpt was originally published in Rewire. Click here to view the full article.

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Laura E. Durso

Former Vice President, LGBTQ Research and Communications Project

Naomi Goldberg