State works to ease disparity in minority youth arrests

— Florida Department of Juvenile Justice leaders plan a forum in Pensacola as part of the state’s plan to decrease the number of minority children in jails.

Officials say the Panhandle town is among numerous Florida communities with a disproportionate number of black and Hispanic children jailed each year.

In Escambia County, where Pensacola is located, black children make up 31 percent of the youth population, but 70 percent of the cases in the juvenile justice system, according to the state.

At Tuesday’s forum, juvenile justice leaders say they will talk about the statistics and ways to reduce the problem.

Similar forums have been held in Duval and Palm Beach counties.

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