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'Young and Arrested' Investigation Tracks Surge in Juvenile Arrests, Felony Charges

Photo: St. Edwards University via WMFE
Central Florida leads the rest of the state in juvenile arrests.

Records from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice show Orange County processes the highest number of juvenile arrests statewide, and most of those arrests are felonies charged to black boys. Reporter Renata Sago at WMFE in Orlando documented the journey of three young men, each charged with felonies, and their paths through the juvenile justice system in a five-part series called "Young and Arrested."

A Human Rights Watch report found that black boys in Florida were disproportionately sent to prison whether for first- or second-time offenses in the five years between 2008 and 2013. Even as Florida experienced a decades-long decline in juvenile arrests, Orange County stands out for its high number of arrests and a high rate of recidivism. 

The series features a kaleidoscope of voices, some prominent others less well known, from within Orange County and across the state. They range from law enforcement officers, school officials, community leaders, attorneys, and others in the juvenile justice system.

Thursday at 1 p.m., Sago shares portions of her series and discusses the stories of the people involved in the system, and the shortcomings she found in her reporting of the juvenile justice system.

Matthew Smith is a reporter and producer of WGCU’s Gulf Coast Live.
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