W. Haywood Burns InstituteSan Francisco, California
Published January 19, 2010
A data-driven advocate for juvenile justice reform
The San Francisco-based W. Haywood Burns Institute works to improve the well-being of low-income youth, youth of color, and their communities by reducing racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system.
Youth of color comprise approximately 70 percent of those in the juvenile justice system, though they are only 38 percent of the total U.S. youth population. This disparity occurs because youth of color are often punished more severely than white youth, even for the same offenses. Youth of color are also often incarcerated for minor non-violent infractions for which white youth receive alternatives to detention. Involvement in the juvenile justice system has long-lasting, harmful effects on youth of color and their disproportionately low-income families. Many justice systems do not provide adequate education, counseling, and security for the youth in their care. Systemic involvement also creates barriers to higher education, job placement, access to financial aid and public benefits, and military service. The W. Haywood Burns Institute engages communities, policymakers, and juvenile justice administrators in dialogue and research to reshape policies, procedures, and practices with a data-driven, consensus-based approach aimed at improving the effectiveness and fairness of juvenile justice. The Institute’s work in more than 40 jurisdictions has yielded measurable reductions in systemic economic and racial disparities. The Institute provides juvenile justice and other agencies nationwide with the methodology and strategies to help them evaluate their own systems and reduce unequal impacts.
The W. Haywood Burns Institute will use its $750,000 award to augment its operating reserve and to create an online technical assistance training center that will help jurisdictions better utilize the Institute's tools and methods.
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