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Data shows Latino youth in detention centers drops 50 percent

LatinaLista — Sometimes there’s a good reason to send a kid to juvenile detention and sometimes there isn’t.

A 16-year-old who decides to bring a gun to school and show everyone who’s boss is someone who deserves to be in juvenile detention.

Someone who hates his home life so much he’s always running away or hasn’t learned the value of an education and is constantly truant or even someone who thinks dealing drugs is easy money with no risks – all need counseling and attention from a caring adult but they don’t deserve to be locked in juvenile detention.

It’s a message that advocates for juvenile justice reform have been hammering away at the educators, the courts and law enforcement to hear — and it seems to be working.

According to an analysis, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, of state-by-state data of juvenile detention rates, there is a 44 percent drop in kids being hauled away to detention facilities.

It’s especially promising news for Latino youth, who rank third behind Native American and African American youth to be locked up.

In 2007, 284,000 Latino youth were held in juvenile detention, correctional or residential facilities. In 2015, the most recent year for data, the number dropped by 50 percent to 142,000.

It’s progress but until college completion rates improve or there’s a rise in technical training certification, it’s clear there are too many Latino youth not reaching their full potential.

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