Views
5 months ago

African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

African-American Youth in The Juvenile Justice System

Both selective

Both selective inattention (ignoring the other point of view) and the either-or approach (mutually exclusive points of view), which have characterized academic and public discourse on race, crime and justice, are problematic in several respects. These explanations not only pose a false dichotomy, but they also oversimplify what is a very complex set of social phenomena. These approaches also detract from increasingly promising efforts by scholars and others to develop and examine more inclusive and complex models that may more fully account for the multiple factors that contribute to racial and ethnic disproportionality in the nation's justice system. Key Terms There is considerable confusion and variation in the meaning of terms used to examine and describe the racial disparity in the juvenile justice system. This confusion has contributed to divergent findings regarding the presence or absence of racial bias in the justice system and the tendency to attribute all racial differences in system outcomes to prejudice and bigotry (Walker et al., 1996). Therefore, it is important at the outset of this discussion to define the terms we will use. In this report, we use the terms disparity and disproportionality to refer to situations in which minority group members are either under- or overrepresented relative to their proportion in the general population. There is no judgment about the cause of the observed disparity; it may stem from differences in actual behavior, or from decision making within the system, including legitimate and extralegal factors, or both. “Race” has been defined as phenotypic differences in skin color, hair, texture, and other physical attributes that have historically been perceived by some as the surface manifestations or markers of deeper, underlying differences in intelligence, temperament, physical prowess, sexuality, and propensity toward crime and violence. However, biologists, geneticists, and physical anthropologists, among others, have reached the conclusion that race is a biologically meaningless category, and not a scientific concept based on discernible biological differences among the various groupings commonly referred to as races today. In addition, cultural and social anthropologists, sociologists, and behavioral scientists have noted that the attributes often associated with specific racial categories are based frequently on stereotype rather than on evidence of actual differences across groups. Moreover, scientific research often reports as much behavioral and cultural difference within races as between them. Yet there continues to be popular acceptance of race as a social construct, and an important organizing principle of individual identity, collective consciousness, and institutional life (Bobo, in press). The term racial disparity, rather than ethnic disparity, is used in this chapter since most of the evidence available does not permit an examination of disproportionality by various ethnic groups, nor does the literature appropriately distinguish ethnicity within the racially designated groups. Using the term racial disparity in this chapter is largely a reflection of the kind of data available. Most official arrest data, as well as victimization and self-report surveys, do not permit an examination of disproportionality by the numerous ethnic groups found in the United States today. Classification as Hispanic Page 48 of 114

permits some comparisons between the various Hispanic ethnic groups and those who are not Hispanic. Thus, whether juvenile offending differs among the various ethnic and nationality subgroups found among European, Asian, and African Americans cannot be determined given the data available. Crime and delinquency data on the race of juvenile offenders focuses primarily on blacks and whites. Official arrest statistics for Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian youth are often unavailable or suffer from problems in assignment of youth to these ethnic and racial groups using vague or ambiguous criteria. For these reasons, this chapter focuses on the one racial minority group for whom we have reasonably reliable data—blacks. The chapter examines the extent to which black youth are disproportionately involved in the juvenile justice system compared with white youth. Whenever possible, attention is called to the situation for minority youth of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. Because the research reviewed in this chapter is largely focused on potential sources of bias in the juvenile justice system (as opposed to other institutions in American society), we use the term discrimination to refer to those situations in which evidence suggests that extralegal or illegitimate factors are the cause of disparate justice system outcomes. Chapter Organization Detailed information on patterns and trends in offending has been described earlier in this volume. This chapter is designed to bring together divergent streams of research and scholarly discourse in an attempt to highlight some key issues and to move the field ahead by suggesting useful and potentially useful ways of thinking about race, ethnicity, juvenile crime, and the juvenile justice system in the future. The chapter is divided into three major parts. The first part of this chapter briefly reviews the extent of the racial disparity in the juvenile justice system. The chapter then considers the evidence for racial disparity in the delinquent behavior of youth as well as evidence of bias in the juvenile justice system. The second part of the chapter introduces the concept of compound risk and illustrates how small differences in the treatment of juveniles at one point in the process may have enduring and powerful effects later on, as the youth progresses or does not progress through the juvenile justice system. The third part of the chapter describes promising directions for future research that may prove useful and productive to the field. In the last part of the chapter are the panel's specific recommendations for research and policy. RACIAL DISPARITY IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM Although black youth represented approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population ages 10-17 in 1997, they represented 26 percent of all juvenile arrests, 30 percent of delinquency referrals to juvenile court, 45 percent of pre-adjudication decisions, 33 percent of petitioned delinquency cases, 46 percent of cases judicially waived to adult criminal court, and 40 percent of juveniles in public long-term institutions (see Figure 6- 1). Thus, the proportion of blacks under the supervision of the juvenile or adult criminal justice systems is more than double their proportion in the general population. Page 49 of 114

Latino and Hispanic Youth in the Juvenile Justice System
Native American Youth In The Juvenile Justice System
Juvenile Justice System and Risk Factor Data - Illinois Criminal ...
Understanding the Juvenile Justice System and IDEIA - The Family ...
Minnesota Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee - Minnesota State ...
Juvenile Justice Involved Youth: Issues and Models of Coordination
Juvenile Justice System and Risk Factor Data 2008 Annual Report
ReEngineering Juvenile Justice
Juvenile Justice System Improvement - JDAI Helpdesk
Your Guide to the Juvenile Justice System in Illinois - National ...
Disproportionate Minority Confinement - National Criminal Justice ...
A SYSTEM PRIORITY - Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice
2006 National Report - Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency ...
Landmark Cases in US Juvenile Justice (Pennsylvania)
Landmark Cases in US Juvenile Justice (New Jersey)
improving outcomes for youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice ...
Building Community for Youth in the Juvenile Justice and ... - IIRP
Juvenile Justice & Mental Health - Technical Assistance Partnership
Meeting the Health Needs of Youth Involved in the Juvenile Justice ...
Differential treatment in the youth justice system - Equality and ...
Juvenile Case Management System - Texas Juvenile Justice ...
Juvenile Justice Handbook - Texas Attorney General
A PUBLICATION OF THE VIRGINIA JUVENILE JUSTICE ...
State-Level Detention Reform - The Coalition for Juvenile Justice
Juvenile Justice Spring 08
The Comeback States - National Juvenile Justice Network
Presnt. on Juvenile Justice System Ordinance, 2000..pdf - Reunite
2008 White Paper-Juvenile Justice for Youthful Offenders - Ohio ...