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Crime and Courts

Study Finds Racial Disparities Persist In Kansas Juvenile Justice System

The preliminary results of a statewide assessment on the overrepresentation of minority youth in Kansas’ juvenile justice system will be presented at a community forum next week.

The forum is an event to solicit community input and present research findings from a study commissioned by the state of Kansas on disproportionate minority contact- or DMC.

DMC occurs when minority youth come into contact with the juvenile justice system at a higher rate than their white counterparts.

Kansas State Representative Melody McCray-Miller had the opportunity to see the preliminary research findings and says it shows a persistence in racial disparities in some of the largest, most diverse counties in Kansas, including Sedgwick County.

"We are still seeing that African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, Indians, Indigenous, are still being arrested three times, close to four times as often as a majority youth, or a white youth," she says.

Studies of disproportionate minority contact are required of all states that receive federal dollars under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. This is the first time in more than eight years that Sedgwick County has been part of the study.

McCray Miller says it is important the public attend so that they can share their response and make suggestions as to how the state should move forward.

The forum will take place Thursday, January 10 from 6 to 8 pm at the Wichita State University Metroplex at 29th and Oliver.