Burns Statement on the Human Rights Crisis at the Border

The W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) was founded on principles of human dignity and fair treatment for communities of color that are too often subject to policies and practices that are steeped in racialized institutional social control. The current immigration crisis represents this nation’s continuing tragic history of formally justifying inhumane treatment and the cruelty ...

Unlocking Opportunity: New Burns Institute Report Highlights Disparities in California’s Youth Justice System

Every night in California, nearly 4,000 youth lay their heads to sleep out of their homes, out of their community and away from their families as the result of a court ordered placement. Youth of color comprise the vast majority of these youth (88 percent). In fact, at every decision-making point in the youth justice ...

Looking Back, Moving Forward: Reflections from the Field

2017 has been a year of significant change for both the nation and the Burns Institute. For us here at the BI, the looming year’s end signals a time for deep reflection on where we stand and how we will move forward. As we take stock of the lessons we have learned over the past ...

Our Interactive Data Map is now Updated to Reflect the Latest OJJDP Youth Incarceration Data

On any given day in the US, Black youth are five times as likely as White youth to be incarcerated; Latino youth are almost twice as likely; and Native American youth are three times as likely. Most of these youth (73 percent) were incarcerated for non-violent offenses. Although the number of youth incarcerated has decreased by ...

Trans-Atlantic Dialogues on Race and Incarceration

James Bell delivering a seminar at the Centre for Justice Innovation in London, UK. To talk about race and ethnicity as it relates to the justice system is often seen as a uniquely American conversation. Yet, although America certainly leads the way when it comes to incarceration and its disproportionate effects on communities of color, there ...

Press Release: California Takes the Lead in Juvenile Justice Reform — Ends The Harmful, Unlawful, and Costly Practice of Charging Fees to Families with Youth in the System

SACRAMENTO—On October 11, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 190, a major, bipartisan juvenile justice reform bill that will improve youth rehabilitation and increase public safety. Effective January 1, 2018, SB 190 ends the regressive and racially discriminatory practice of charging administrative fees to families with youth in the juvenile system. More specifically, ...

Proposition 57 Draft Regulations Would Exclude Thousands From the Promise of Rehabilitation

Last November, nearly two-thirds of California voters said yes to Proposition 57, a ballot measure which supported increasing parole eligibility and good behavior opportunities for people convicted of nonviolent crimes and allowing judges, not prosecutors, to decide whether to direct file youth to adult court. Despite this support for a justice system that is centered ...

JJDPA Passes House and Senate, but Still Long Road to Go

On August 1st the Senate approved S860, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Reauthorization Act of 2017, which strengthens and updates the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) of 2002. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was first signed into law on September 7, 1974; it was last reauthorized in 2002 and is now ...

Report Update: Direct File Rates Arbitrarily Rising for Youth of Color

A new report shows that rates of direct file increased in 2015 despite falling rates of arrest for serious felony offenses, with a continued disproportionate impact on youth of color.

The BI Urges Federal Government to Strengthen Requirements for Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities

Today, the W. Haywood Burns Institute (BI) and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy (CCLP) submitted recommendations to the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) aimed at strengthening the agency’s approach to reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the youth justice system. The BI and CCLP prepared the joint recommendations in response ...