New study: Amid pandemic, jail releases for Black youth lag white youth | Monday Morning Coffee

(Annie E. Casey Foundation photo)

Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
After an initial burst, the rush to release people from jail — except, apparently, friends of President Donald Trump, amid the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed. And as a new report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation reveals, that’s particularly true among young people, and especially true when it comes to Black youth.

The report finds that after an increase in releases in March, young people were less likely to be released from detention in April and May. And while the population of detained young people has decreased by 27 percent since the pandemic began, the population nonetheless grew slightly in May.

In fact, “one of every three young people in detention on June 1 would not have been in detention if the release rate had stayed at its March level,” the report concluded.

And while “admissions among Black youth actually fell a bit more than admissions among white youth, Black youth continued to be overrepresented in detention because the widening gap in the release rate is larger than any gains on the admissions side,” the report also finds.

(Annie E. Casey Foundation graphic)

“These data demonstrate how critical it is for juvenile justice systems not only to keep young people out of detention facilities but also to act with urgency to get young people out,” Nate Balis, the director of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Strategy Group, said in a blog post about the report. “A more equitable youth justice system requires intense focus on releasing Black youth from detention.”

Some of the report’s other, key findings:

  • “Juvenile justice systems had increasing difficulty releasing young people who were detained.
  • “Disparities in admissions improved for African American youth when the juvenile justice system had a smaller footprint.
  • “Disparities in release rates that disadvantage Black youth grew, which led to lower overall population declines for Black youth than for white youth.”
(Annie E. Casey Foundation graphic)

A bit more about incarceration of Black youth:

“White youth in detention continued to be more likely to be released than African American youth. Before COVID-19, the white release rate was about 7 percent higher than the African American release rate,” the report found “By May 2020 it was 17 percent higher, meaning the gap had more than doubled in size. The widening gap meant white youth experienced a larger population drop than African American youth despite African American gains in admissions. The population decline between March 1 and June 1 was 30% for white youth and 27% for African American youth.”

As The Appeal notes in its own story about the report, “Locking kids up was dangerous before the pandemic, the report notes—confinement exacerbates existing health issues, disrupts schooling and can trap kids in a cycle of incarceration. But COVID-19 has made youth confinement even more dangerous. ”

The Pennsylvania Capitol building. (Capital-Star photo by Sarah Anne Hughes)

Our Stuff.
In this week’s edition of The Numbers RacketCassie Miller continues her analysis of the 2020-21 stopgap budget. This morning, state spending on human services programs gets an up-close look.

Elizabeth Hardison has a patented Capital-Star explainer on what we know so far about plans for Pennsylvania schools to reopen this fall.

Nick Field dives into the data from the June 2 primary election, and looks for what it tells us about how things may transpire this fall.

After offering the mildest of all criticisms of the decision to commute Roger Stone’s sentence, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., found himself on the receiving end of a blistering presidential tweet.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune: A West Philadelphia high school principal has been named the top principal in the state. Philly FOP boss John McNesby has gotten on board with some police reforms, but critics believe he can go further. And Lincoln University won’t renew the contract of its current president.

On our Commentary Page this morning, if lockdown has you down, get out on Pennsylvania’s rail trails, opinion regular Ray E. Landis writes. And Dick Polman looks at what Herbert Hoover and Donald Trump have in common.

En la Estrella-Capital: El policía de Erie que fue atrapado en un video viral no enfrentará cargos por patear a la manifestante. Y con los casos de COVID-19 elevados por casi dos meses, Casey y Toomey se unen a Wolf para instarle a los residentes de Pensilvania usar máscarillas.

A Marcellus shale gas-drilling site along PA Route 87, Lycoming County. Nicholas A. Tonelli | Flickr Commons)

Elsewhere.
State lawmakers could vote this week on a revived version of the petrochemical tax credit bill earlier vetoed by Gov. Tom Wolf, the Associated Press reports (via the Inquirer).
Pittsburgh City Paper has photos of a march on behalf of Duquesne University student Marquis Jaylen Brown, who died by suicide in 2018. His mother has disagreed with how university police handled the incident.
In a new series, PennLive profiles the struggles and successes of Black-owned businesses in central Pennsylvania amid the pandemic.
Allentown police are defending an officer, caught on video, who knelt on the neck of a Black man, arguing that he was ‘noncompliant.’ Local Black Lives Matter activists don’t agree, the Morning Call reports.

Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:


Residents in Norristown are rallying to try to stop the sale of the borough’s municipal sewer systemWHYY-FM reports.
The PA Post talks to a Brazilian Penn State student about the new Trump administration visa rules for international students. 
In Luzerne County, county agencies are resuming in-person meetings, the Citizens-Voice reports.
American farmers aren’t thrilled about the U.S./China trade dealStateline.org reports.
Roll Call has six things to watch for in this week’s primaries in Alabama, Maine, and Texas, Roll Call reports.

What Goes On.
The Senate comes in at 1 p.m. today and works through Wednesday.  The House has days scheduled for Monday and Tuesday. And there’s some committee action on deck as well.

In the Senate — all sessions are live-streamed.
12 p.m.: Health & Human Services Committee
Off the Floor: Rules & Executive Nominations
Off the Floor: State Government Committee

In the House — all sessions are live-streamed:
Call of the Chair: Appropriations Committee

Heavy Rotation.
Initially, we were not convinced the world needed another version of ‘Dancing in the Moonlight.’ But this dance-y reimagining by Swedish production team Jubel is starting to grow on us.

Monday’s Gratuitous Football Link.
With hundreds of millions of dollars in sponsorships on the line, Washington’s NFL team will retire its team nickname today, the Washington Post reports. Which, as it turns out, is the only language that team owner Dan Snyder understands. The team has not announced its replacement, however.

And now you’re up to date.

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press