As a child in the United States, justice often depends on where you live, the color of your skin, which police officer arrests you, or which judge, prosecutor or probation officer happens to be involved in your case. Juvenile courts across the country processed nearly 750,000 cases in 2018. About 200,000 of these cases involved detention – removing a young person from home and locking them away, according to data from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
This report is part of Kids Imprisoned, an investigation of juvenile justice in America produced by the Carnegie-Knight News21 program. For more stories, visit kidsimprisoned.news21.com.21
Depending on where a young person lives, a crime like simple assault or gun possession could lead to a customized rehabilitation program with help from mentors. It also could mean confinement in a group home, where kids wear their own clothes and counselors call them by their first names.