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Visualizing the unequal treatment of LGBTQ people in the criminal justice system (2021)

LGBTQ people are overrepresented at every stage of our criminal justice system, from juvenile justice to parole.

The data is clear: lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ ) people are overrepresented at every stage of criminal justice system, starting with juvenile justice system involvement. They are arrested, incarcerated, and subjected to community supervision at significantly higher rates than straight and cisgender people. This is especially true for trans people and queer women. And while incarcerated, LGBTQ individuals are subject to particularly inhumane conditions and treatment.

For this briefing, we’ve compiled the existing research on LGBTQ involvement and experiences with the criminal justice system, and - where the data did not yet exist - analyzed a recent national data set to fill in the gaps. (Namely, we provide the only national estimates for lesbian, gay, or bisexual arrest rates and community supervision rates that we know of.) We present the findings for each stage of the criminal justice system with available data, and pair them with new graphics illustrating the dramatic disparities in the system related to sexuality and gender identity.

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