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

Published Oct 16, 2009, Katayoon Majd, Jody Marksamer and Carolyn Reyes

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Hidden Injustice is the first comprehensive report to examine the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth in juvenile courts nationwide.  LGBT youth comprise a significant portion (up to 13%) of youth in detention, according to a recent study by Ceres Policy Research, but many juvenile justice professionals remain unaware that LGBT youth exist—and are often treated unfairly—in the justice system. 

The groundbreaking report highlights a number of barriers to the fair and effective treatment of court-involved LGBT youth, including denials of due process rights, experiences of bias and prejudice, a lack of services competent to serve them, an overreliance on detention and incarceration, and appalling and abusive conditions of confinement.  The findings are based on in-depth data collection from juvenile court judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, probation officers, and detention staff across the country, as well as youth who have had firsthand experience in the system. 

The report also details practice and policy recommendations for juvenile justice professionals, policymakers, and other advocates, on how best to protect the rights of LGBT youth and provide effective interventions when necessary.


Supported by

Models for Change was a juvenile justice systems reform initiative supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, website operated by Justice Policy Institute.