Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:55 am
For people connected to the Memphis juvenile courts, April 2012 is unforgettable. That's when federal investigators determined that the Shelby County juvenile court system discriminated against African-American defendants.
The Justice Department said the system punished black children more harshly than whites. In the most incendiary finding, investigators said the court detained black children and sent them to be tried in the adult system twice as often as whites.
Delinquent children are much more likely than their nondelinquent peers to die violently later in life, a study finds. And girls who ended up in juvenile detention were especially vulnerable, dying at nearly five times the rate of the general population.
"This was astonishing," says Linda Teplin, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University's medical school and the lead author of the study.