Statement by James W. Compton, President & CEO of the Chicago Urban League, in Response to Findings of the New Building Blocks for Youth Study, 'Drugs and Disparity: Racial Impact of Illinois' Practice of Transferring Young Drug Offenders to Adult Court'

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Chicago Urban League

    CHICAGO, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- James W. Compton, president & CEO of the
 Chicago Urban League, today released the following statement regarding the
 findings of the report "Drugs and Disparity: The Racial Impact of Illinois'
 Practice of Transferring Young Drug Offenders to Adult Court."  The report
 reveals that Illinois' transfer laws have created some of the most severe
 disparities when it comes to the treatment of black youth.
     "As an organization dedicated for 85 years to the elimination of racial
 discrimination, the Chicago Urban League is deeply concerned about racial
 disparities in the application of Illinois' automatic transfer laws.  Those
 laws require that any 15 or 16 year old who is charged with a drug crime
 that occurs within 1000 feet of a school or a public housing project be
 automatically transferred to an adult court, where sentences are harsher and
 the likelihood of admission to state prison is greater."
     "According to the Building Blocks for Youth report, while African-American
 youth make up only 15.3% of Illinois' youth population, African-American
 youth are 59% of the youth arrested for drug crimes, 85.5% of youth
 automatically transferred to adult court, 88% of the youth imprisoned for
 drug crimes statewide, and 91% percent of the youth admitted to state prison
 from Cook County.  Moreover, of the 259 youth automatically transferred from
 Cook County last year, only 1 was White.
     "Illinois transfer laws arise, no doubt, from the legislature's color-
 blind concern to address the debilitating impact of illegal drugs on the
 state's public schools and public housing communities.  But in practical
 application, the impact of these laws is discriminatory, negative, and
 anything but color-blind as is shown in the study just released by the
 Building Blocks for Youth Initiative."
     "The Building Blocks study is consistent with research done by other
 leading civil rights organizations.  This research shows that Illinois has
 some of the most racially disparate criminal justice outcomes in the US.
 Thanks largely to these institutional disparities, there are neighborhoods in
 Chicago where considerably more than half the Black male youth possess
 felony records."
     "By sending more and more Black youth to prison, state officials are
 contributing to the incapacitation of future Black generations and deeply
 exacerbating persistent problems of crime, poverty, addiction, and
 hopelessness in the Black community."
     "For these and other reasons, the Chicago Urban League strongly supports
 proposals to repeal sections of the Illinois transfer laws that continue to
 have a racially disparate impact on our youth. Further, the League looks
 forward to joining with other organizations in the formation of a grassroots
 campaign to promote a fairer and more effective approach to juvenile
 justice."
     Established in 1916, the mission of the Chicago Urban League is to
 eliminate racial discrimination and segregation and to work for the
 achievement of equal opportunity and parity for African Americans, other
 minorities and the poor in every phase of American life.  The League's work is
 focused in three primary areas: education, economic development, and community
 empowerment.
 
     For more information, call 773-285-5800 or visit the Chicago Urban
 League's site at www.cul-chicago.org .
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X12229396
 
 

SOURCE Chicago Urban League
    CHICAGO, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- James W. Compton, president & CEO of the
 Chicago Urban League, today released the following statement regarding the
 findings of the report "Drugs and Disparity: The Racial Impact of Illinois'
 Practice of Transferring Young Drug Offenders to Adult Court."  The report
 reveals that Illinois' transfer laws have created some of the most severe
 disparities when it comes to the treatment of black youth.
     "As an organization dedicated for 85 years to the elimination of racial
 discrimination, the Chicago Urban League is deeply concerned about racial
 disparities in the application of Illinois' automatic transfer laws.  Those
 laws require that any 15 or 16 year old who is charged with a drug crime
 that occurs within 1000 feet of a school or a public housing project be
 automatically transferred to an adult court, where sentences are harsher and
 the likelihood of admission to state prison is greater."
     "According to the Building Blocks for Youth report, while African-American
 youth make up only 15.3% of Illinois' youth population, African-American
 youth are 59% of the youth arrested for drug crimes, 85.5% of youth
 automatically transferred to adult court, 88% of the youth imprisoned for
 drug crimes statewide, and 91% percent of the youth admitted to state prison
 from Cook County.  Moreover, of the 259 youth automatically transferred from
 Cook County last year, only 1 was White.
     "Illinois transfer laws arise, no doubt, from the legislature's color-
 blind concern to address the debilitating impact of illegal drugs on the
 state's public schools and public housing communities.  But in practical
 application, the impact of these laws is discriminatory, negative, and
 anything but color-blind as is shown in the study just released by the
 Building Blocks for Youth Initiative."
     "The Building Blocks study is consistent with research done by other
 leading civil rights organizations.  This research shows that Illinois has
 some of the most racially disparate criminal justice outcomes in the US.
 Thanks largely to these institutional disparities, there are neighborhoods in
 Chicago where considerably more than half the Black male youth possess
 felony records."
     "By sending more and more Black youth to prison, state officials are
 contributing to the incapacitation of future Black generations and deeply
 exacerbating persistent problems of crime, poverty, addiction, and
 hopelessness in the Black community."
     "For these and other reasons, the Chicago Urban League strongly supports
 proposals to repeal sections of the Illinois transfer laws that continue to
 have a racially disparate impact on our youth. Further, the League looks
 forward to joining with other organizations in the formation of a grassroots
 campaign to promote a fairer and more effective approach to juvenile
 justice."
     Established in 1916, the mission of the Chicago Urban League is to
 eliminate racial discrimination and segregation and to work for the
 achievement of equal opportunity and parity for African Americans, other
 minorities and the poor in every phase of American life.  The League's work is
 focused in three primary areas: education, economic development, and community
 empowerment.
 
     For more information, call 773-285-5800 or visit the Chicago Urban
 League's site at www.cul-chicago.org .
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X12229396
 
 SOURCE  Chicago Urban League