GLBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Girl in handcuffs

The GLBT Center will host a guest lecture on the experiences of GLBT youth within the juvenile justice system. This lecture will examine how race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, sexual orientation and gender identity act as factors that increase the likelihood that youth will be funneled into the criminal justice system. Shaena Johnson, co-director, will facilitate this lecture on behalf of BreakOUT, a non-profit organization that seeks to end the criminalization of GLBT youth and works to build a safer and more just New Orleans. The presentation will describe the systemic barriers that exist for these youth as they navigate the juvenile justice system and the impact of these barriers on their ability to successfully advocate for themselves.

According to a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 12% of youth within juvenile justice facilities self-identified as members of the GLBT community. In another report conducted by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency, 85% of GLBT youth within their surveyed sample of juvenile justice facilities identified as youth of color. BreakOUT works to address the systemic and institutional barriers impacting these youth by providing programming, advocacy and support focused on street safety, education, housing attainment, healthcare access, employment and leadership development.

Johnson’s lecture is on Thursday, February 23, 2017 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Currituck-Hatteras Ballroom, Talley Student Union. This lecture is open to students, staff, faculty and community members.

Preston Keith is assistant director of the GLBT Center.