In Cook County, almost six thousand juveniles were held in detention in 2008. But for every white kid in detention, there were twenty-nine black kids, says WBEZ, Chicago Public Radio. Those sent off to prison from Cook County were also overwhelmingly kids of color. The problem of racial disparity in juvenile justice has been recognized for decades, but still today there's no consensus on how to fix it, or even why it happens.
As part of a series, Inside and Out, Chiago Public Radio talks to representatives of the public defender’s office, the MacArthur Foundation’s Randell Strickland, Miguel Millet of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, and a teenage boy about the problem. Millet said that in his predominantly black neithborhood, “I don't think it's physically possible to be outside of 1,000-feet from a school or a church.  Oonce you are within 1,000-feet of a school or a church the sentencing for the drug charge automatically increases — I think that's a prime example there of how the discrepancies exist. You can just be in the wrong neighborhood. You could be the same kid and be in the wrong neighborhood.”