aclu-logo

Protecting the Bill of Rights in Utah since 1958

Racial Disparities in Utah’s Juvenile Justice System

This report explores the racial disparities that result from flaws in Utah’s current juvenile justice system and outlines specific recommendations for reform.

Screen Shot 2017 02 13 at 7.09.42 AM

TAKE ACTION TODAY! It is time to begin systemic reform to address these issues. Ask your legislator to support H.B. 239, Juvenile Justice Amendments, sponsored by Rep. Lowry Snow and Sen. Todd Weiler.

The ACLU of Utah, in partnership with multiple community stakeholders - including the YWCA of Utah, Voices for Utah Children, Racially Just Utah and Ogden Branch NAACP – has released a new report detailing serious racial disparities in Utah’s Juvenile Justice System. Early release copies were made available at a brief press event on Saturday, February 11, as part of the second annual Breaking the Pipeline Symposium at the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Using data collected and compiled by an official Juvenile Justice Working Group, assisted by the Pew Charitable Trust, the report reveals stark racial disparities including the following: 

• Black/African-American youth make up 1% of Utah’s youth population, but they represent 12% of all kids placed with the Utah Division of Child and Family Services through the juvenile justice system. 
• In one judicial district, Latino/Hispanic youth make up 24% of the youth population - but 52% of all “secure care” dispositions resulting in out-of-home detention for these youth.
• In another district, Native American youth make up 9% of the overall youth population, yet 41% of “secure care” disposition are imposed on Native American youth.

The full report can be downloaded here.

If you have questions about this report, or wish to arrange a presentation related to its content (as well as accompanying legislative reforms), please contact Anna Thomas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Save