Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity

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Juvenile Offenders: Race and Ethnicity Jesse Mathewson

there has not been nearly the impetuous to reduce the root causes for the crime levels and the disparities that exist. Many advancements within the justice system help reduce the number of racially motivated arrests.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity Juvenile Offenders: Race and Ethnicity Abstract: Juvenile crime in the United States is epidemic. Understanding why there are disparities is important when attempting to understand the base causes for the large amount of juvenile crime in the United States. the sheer number of juvenile offenders ensures a thriving corrections industry far into this century. . unfortunately with those numbers 2 come the racial and ethnic disparities. The following paper address’s the advancements. disparities and takes a look at possible root causes as well as potential fixes. however.

and because a large percentage of the crime occurs in urban areas due to the increased number of . close to 60% of African Americans live in urban areas. black juveniles were involved in 51% of juvenile Violent Crime Index arrests and 32% of juvenile Property Crime Index arrests. Accordingly. In 2007 law enforcement agencies in the United States made an estimated 2. Obviously. these are arrest statistics and do not properly reflect completed cases and incarcerations. (Puzzanchera. it is obvious that there is no real disparity in arrests on a general scale. In fact by looking at the basic numbers. The most recently publicly available statistics are 2007 for juvenile offenders. the crime types seem to be the real variables here and not the alleged disparity of arrest numbers.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity Juvenile Offenders: Race and Ethnicity Statistics in Juvenile Justice: Understanding the evidence currently available on a national level is important when discussing the possible disparities with juvenile offender’s race and ethnicity. According to Puzzanchera (2009) in 2007. although black youth accounted for just 17% of the youth population ages 10 through 17. 2009) Of the approximately 14 million arrests made for all crimes and ages in 2007 statistics show that juvenile arrests equaled approximately 15% of all arrests made.18 million 3 arrests of persons under the age 18. as the current numbers per the 2000 census reflects almost 18% of the population meaning that the 17% percent arrest rate is lower than the population numbers in general. However. It is important to understand that in many cases juvenile arrests are not reported to the Uniform Crime Report of the Federal Bureau of Investigations because of various state and federal restrictions on juvenile information. Juvenile arrests equaled over 18% of all adult arrests which means for every 18 adults arrested one juvenile was also arrested.

juvenile population ages 10–17 in 2007 was 78% white. adopted in 1870 this amendment states. color. An interesting point of fact however. It should be noted that from 1986 until 2007 there was a general increase in aggravated assault cases resulting in a disparity of data. be arrested or incarcerated for specific crime types versus other racial or ethnic groupings. as Puzzanchera (2009) stated in his report. From 1993 a sharp drop has been noted in violent crimes among African American juveniles with a relatively stable but not declining level for Caucasian juveniles. another name for this was segregation. “The racial composition of the U. or previous condition of servitude.” regarding the correlation between certain crime types and African American juveniles it should be noted that the other minority categories are not generally overrepresented. . adopted July 9. One of the first of these legislative attempts was the Fourteenth Amendment.” Although this is still an “over-representation.S. the Democrat Party legislated many of these laws that created a “separate but equal” status for Blacks and Whites. “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race. Sanford) regarding Black citizenship. The Fifteenth Amendment. However. is the decline in the past 15 years of violent crimes 4 committed among African American juveniles. in fact. and 1% American Indian. 17% black.” In the following years there were several Jim Crow laws passed.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity people it is a relative certainty that a greater number of African Americans may. 5% Asian/Pacific Islander. 1868 this amendment directly followed the civil war and countered the earlier legal decision (Scott v. Legislation regarding race and bias: Various forms of legislation and legal precedent have been passed or decided in an attempt to reduce the general disparity and the air of racial bias that pervades the American Juvenile Justice system.

Sociologically however. the unfortunate side effects of societal differences and not a racist approach within . with civil rights leaders like Martin L. The legal decision Brown versus Board of education (1954) stated. theatres. (NAACP) these rights were ensured. there are some arguments that state a law that requires a large fine is unfair for some urban black youth as their families make less money than a suburban white youth families. the idea as it was taught for so many years of segregation has resulted in a minor yet continuing trend of racism." During the beginning of the 20th century there were unfortunately more Jim Crow laws passed on a local level in many states. they may simply be disparities. however. advantages. however. Racial disparities in Juvenile Justice: Within the Juvenile Justice System there seems to be prejudicial treatment. "Separate but equal" has no place. The criminal justice system is set up to judge all equally. subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color. “We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of. No one can deny that racism has existed and still does in isolated instances however. facilities. public conveyances on land or water. regardless of any previous condition of servitude.” With this decision many changes began and within 10 years legislation (Civil Rights Act of 1964) was being passed that ensured the equality of all men in a positive manner.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity 5 The Civil Rights Case. it is not institutionalized.S. This is. 109 U. and other places of public amusement. and organizations like National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “That all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the accommodations. King Jr. 3 (1883) stated. and privileges of inns.

“In allowance of bail. According to the decision in Stack versus Boyle. while it remains obvious that white juveniles are just as or more involved in the consumption of illegal substances there is a definite disparity in pre-trial detention for this offense. The report went on to say.” (Schirali. nor excessive fines imposed. the terminology allows a much broader approach in applying bail for instance is it equal to a person’s monthly. between the years 1985 and 1995 the proportion of minority youth in detention (pre-trial) increased and eventually represented the largest number of detained juveniles. it can also be assumed that these disparities are based on flawed policy approaches within the Justice System as well. While some researchers claim that racism is far more prevalent. “Excessive bail shall not be required. bi annual or more salary. what is the true cause and is there one simple fix or will it take multiple approaches? Possible root causes and potential solutions: There exists obvious disparities and the reasons are not as clear as it may seem. however. nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. 1 (1951) Justice’s Jackson and Frankfurter stated. Ziedenberg.” 6 Unfortunately. 2002. 3) So what is the solution.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity the criminal justice system. 342 U. While the Federal .S. To be fair fines must be within the same range for all who commit similar crimes. decisions made at detention can have a profound impact on disproportionality – for better or worse. According to a Justice Policy Institute report published 2002. it is with bail that the true disparities can be seen. Bail amounts according to the Eighth Amendment (1791). Pg. annual. the duty of the judge is to reduce the risk by fixing an amount reasonably calculated to hold the accused available for trial and its consequence?” In establishing that exorbitant bail amounts would not be allowed this case has helped guide sitting justices for decades. “Because detention is a key entry point from which youth further penetrate the juvenile justice system.

Another area of concern is pre-trial detention and sentencing. Public defenders do not necessarily have the funding or sources available to formulate a proper defense. in many cases private investigators and . this does not necessarily signify an immediate change. Of course there is also the possibility that this is simply a matter of approach. or that if they are 7 the seasoned law enforcement is rigorously screened to ensure that negative race-based habits are not passed on.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity government recently released new training protocol regarding racially or ethnically-based profiling unfortunately. with a disproportionate amount of minorities being incarcerated one could assume that the judiciary themselves are at fault. Sentencing represents yet another potential problem. in many cases bail may. It is likely that the only way to ensure these “racist” behaviorisms no longer occur is to ensure that “rookie” law enforcement officers are no longer placed with older law enforcement agents for training. at present it seems that statistically there is support for the idea that the true “profiling” lies within this system. be the same or similar in amount. Public defenders may be more likely to take a plea bargain than a paid defender based on fund alone. this may be the result of the disparity in the abilities of public defenders versus paid legal representatives. In fact it is far more likely that law enforcement that have been on the streets for much longer could be using old techniques simply because they have used these approaches for many years and they have become a “muscle memory” of sorts. in fact. In martial arts and law enforcement tactical training it is normal procedure to train with repetitive approaches as this generates a “mental” memory similar to the muscle memory phenomena that exists for body builders and hand to hand fighters. However. however. in fact urban kids who cannot pay the amount regardless. in many cases the larger numbers placed in pre-trial detention are.

. In fact accepting the recent rise in counter terrorism training and the potential terrorist threat there is little evidence that supports using race alone as an indicator of criminal activity. is racism institutionalized or are the race related issues more inflated than they seem? In looking at the statistics. however. As a result they are more likely to accept a plea deal versus having charges dismissed or receiving sentence reductions. Within the juvenile justice system there is obvious discrepancies in many areas. Amended approaches to current policing and judicial approaches could help change the current disparity that exists. Conclusion: The question should be at this stage. it is only a tool and used alone it can have a negative social impact. when one looks at the general law enforcement policies up until recently it becomes apparent that in many cases profiling has evolved based on generally held prejudices and not the statistical evidence as seen above. Due to a disparity in income levels minority defendants and those defendants with public defenders. are less likely to have the funding available for these 8 luxuries.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity professional witnesses can be hired to provide additional information and help put the state’s case in jeopardy. it seems that race issues are in fact. institutionalized. it is the trial and sentencing phase that seems to be the obvious current problem. pointedly in pre-trial detention and sentencing. While arrests are generally within the accepted ratios. Race or ethnically-based profiling is a useful and appropriate tool however. regardless of race. With additional research in this area we will be able to assess better the changes necessary to serve the community at large and reduce the idea that racism is institutionalized within the justice system.

asp Schirali. (1954). 347 U. BOARD OF EDUCATION. Ziedenberg. JUSTICE POLICY INSTITUTE.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR. (1791).findlaw. 1953. Argued December 9. 3).lp.S.S. Juvenile Justice Bulletin. V. 1 annals of congress 438 (1789). Reargued December 8. 1888. 3.S. 1954. . Decided May 17.pl?court=us&vol=109&invol=3 Eighth Amendment. C. Juvenile arrests 2007. 109 U. 483. 1952. Supreme Court. U.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity 9 References: BROWN v. (2009). U.com/scripts/getcase. oregon success story and its implications. (1883).com/cgibin/getcase.ojjdp. (pg. Retrieved from . Initials. Office of Justice Programs. Reducing disproportionate minority confinement: the multnomah county.lp.S.ncjrs. Initials. Supreme Court.pl?court=US&vol=347&invol=483 Civil Rights Cases. Retrieved from http://caselaw.findlaw. Submitted October Term. (2002). 1882 Decided October 16th. Retrieved from http://caselaw. Retrieved from www. J. Introduced by James Madison ratified by Congress in 1791 Puzzanchera.

Retrieved from http://caselaw. united states marshal.com/scripts/getcase.justicepolicy.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=342&invol= 1#4 .lp. 10 on petition for writ of certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the ninth circuit. Boyle. Stack et al.Juvenile Offenders Race and Ethnicity http://www.S. Decided November 5. v. 342 U.pdf Stack vs. . 400. Argued October 18. 1 (1951) .org/images/upload/0201_REP_ORMultnomahDMCSuccess_RD. 1951.findlaw. boyle. (2010). 1951. no.

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