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Hidden Injustice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts

NCJ Number
Katayoon Majd; Jody Marksamer; Carolyn Reyes
Date Published
178 pages
This report describes the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth involved with the juvenile justice system.
This evaluation found the existence of several barriers to fair and effective treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth involved in the juvenile justice system. These barriers include common misconceptions about, and biases against, LGBT youth negatively impact how the juvenile justice system responds to them; some professionals within the system attempt to change, control, or punish LGBT youth; family rejection of LGBT youth and harassment at school increases their risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system and negatively impacts their cases; the lack of services and placements to competently serve LGBT youth; LGBT youth experience conditions of confinement that dangerous and hostile to them; and the lack of due process rights on the part of delinquency courts towards LGBT youth. The report describes in detail the barriers faced by LGBT youth involved in the juvenile justice system as well as 11 recommendations developed to ensure that the rights of the LGBT youth are met. Data for this report were obtained from 414 surveys and 65 interviews with juvenile justice professionals, focus groups and interview with 55 LGBT youth who had firsthand experiences with the juvenile justice system, and a review of relevant social science and legal research findings. Endnotes and appendixes