Did you know that nearly 40% of girls in juvenile detention and correctional facilities identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) or gender nonconforming? That’s more than four times the number of girls in the United States generally who identify as LGBTQ―and 85% LGBTQ youth who are incarcerated are youth of color.
As outlined in a report released today, incarcerated LGBTQ youth face alarming rates of discrimination, harassment, and sexual assault. Incarcerated gay and bisexual boys are more than 10 times more likely to report being sexually assaulted than their peers. And despite laws like the Prison Rape Elimination Act, LGBTQ youth continue to report grossly unsafe conditions.
All youth, including LGBTQ youth, deserve fair treatment within the juvenile justice system. Safety, dignity, respect and support are critical components of successful reentry and reducing recidivism rates. However, abuse, bias and mistreatment in these facilities are all-too common.
That’s why the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress are teaming with up with Youth First and advocates in five states to find community-based alternatives to youth prisons, which are not only unsafe places for youth, but also do nothing to help youth build the skills needed to succeed as adults.