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Task Force on Racial Disparities (TFRD)

Task Force on Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System is committed to holding New York’s juvenile justice system accountable for policies and practices that unfairly target youth of color. The Task Force accomplishes this goal by demanding that public agencies routinely collect data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, gender, geography and offense (REGGO) at every decision-making point; that they analyze data for disparities between youth of color and their white counterparts, and transparently share this data with community stakeholders for the purpose of jointly developing effective policy changes that lead to fairness and equity.

TFRD was formed in 2008 to reduce racial disparity in the NYC juvenile justice system. In New York City, youth of color, primarily African-American and Latino youth, are heavily overrepresented at all phases of contact with the juvenile justice system. Youth of color, account for 92.5% of juvenile arrests, 95.5% of youth admitted to juvenile detention, and 97.5% of NYC youth placed in upstate prison facilities. Nationwide, other states and cities, have also been actively working to reduce racial disparities, or what has been termed “disproportionate minority contact” with the juvenile justice system. Yet New York City has yet to develop a comprehensive strategy to address this issue.

In 2006, NYC members of the Community Justice Network for Youth (CJNY), a support network for community-based organizations, advocacy groups, service providers, and grassroots organizations, embarked on a mission to identify successful strategies for reform. The CJNY is a project of the W. Haywood Burns Institute, an organization that has successfully guided juvenile justice system stakeholders in jurisdictions across the U.S. through a data-driven approach to reduce racial disparity. With assistance and training from the Burns Institute, the member organizations of CJNY-NY conducted a preliminary assessment of racial disparity in New York’s juvenile justice system, began monitoring New York State’s response to increasing rates of racial disparity, and advocating for the open sharing of data on racial disparity among court-involved youth in New York State.

Recognizing the need for broader collaboration, the CJNY member organizations have initiated the NYC Task Force on Racial Disparity. The Task Force will convene a wide range of individuals and organizations devoted to reducing racial disparity in the New York City Juvenile Justice system. Members of the Task Force will work to educate the public, develop strategies for reform, and work with system stakeholders to increase institutional transparency of NYC’s juvenile justice agencies. The timely and consistent release of key data on youth involved in the system will empower agencies, advocates, and community-based organizations to make informed and appropriate policy decisions. A smarter juvenile justice system and better outcomes for New York City youth depend on openness, analysis, and collaboration.

** Please download and browse through a series of factsheets and presentations below, related to racial disparity in the juvenile justice system in NYC.  TFRD will be hosting system accountability trainings for community stakeholders and providers working to eliminate racial disparity and implement youth development praxis.  Stay tuned for updates and feel free to contact us at for more information.

1) Racial Disparity Datasheet, compiled by the DMC working group convened by Vera Institute

Download (PDF, 89KB)

2) Racial Disparity in NY’s Juvenile Justice System presentation by the NYC Task Force on Racial Disparity (2010)

Download (PPTX, 314KB)

3) Department of Juvenile Justice (now known as Division of Family and Youth Justice) response to TFRD’s request for information (2010)

Download (PDF, 74KB)