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Juvenile Justice

WHEREAS, throughout its history the NAACP has been a strong advocate for and investor in the wellbeing of youth – in education policy, in employment policy, and in the criminal justice system; and

WHEREAS, 40% of students expelled from U.S. schools each year are Black, and 70% of students involved in "in school" arrests or referred to law enforcement are Black or Latino; and

WHEREAS, Black and Latino students are twice as likely not to graduate high school as white students often correlated with involvement with the juvenile justice system; and

WHEREAS, 68% of all males in state and federal prisons do not have a high school diploma; and

WHEREAS, one out of three African American males will be incarcerated in his lifetime, and one out of six Latino males will be incarcerated in his lifetime, a path that often starts as a juvenile; and

WHEREAS, some states automatically seal certain types of juvenile records after the offender reaches a certain age, but in most jurisdictions, the records will not be sealed unless the offender files an official request with the court; and

WHEREAS, the "school to prison pipeline" produces millions of young men and women who have little chance of fulfilling their career potential or forming a stable family, and who in three states (Florida, Iowa and Kentucky) are permanently barred from being able to vote.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the NAACP will (1) work with state education departments, school districts and schools to eliminate expulsion, suspension and in-school arrest disparities; (2) the NAACP advocates and reaffirms that school teachers and administrators must have the primary responsibility for in-school discipline instead of sworn law enforcement officers; (3) seek to ensure that states will implement effective restorative justice or other diversion and school retention programs to end the "school to prison pipeline," (4) seek to ensure that juvenile records are automatically sealed or expunged; and (5) advocate for legislation that bars employers; Federal, State, or local government, and/or credit reporting agencies from discrimination based upon their juvenile record; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will distribute this resolution to state and federal executive, legislative, and judicial officials with responsibility for education and juvenile justice.