File Name: introduction to criminal justice systems diversity and change .zip
Using four running cases that appear in each chapter, authors Callie Marie Rennison and Mary Dodge give students real-life examples of the pathways and outcomes of criminal behavior and victimization.
Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. The panel has noted major disparities in the extent of involvement of minority youth, particularly black youth, compared with white youth in the juvenile justice system.
The existence of disproportionate racial representation in the juvenile justice system raises questions about fundamental fairness and equality of treatment of these youth by the police, courts, and other personnel connected with the juvenile justice system. Furthermore, what happens to youth in their dealings or lack of dealings with the juvenile justice system may have substantial consequences for subsequent development and prospects for the future. Disproportional confinement of minorities has been recognized as a problem by the federal government.
States were required to assess the level of confinement of minority juveniles and to implement strategies to reduce disproportionate minority representation where it was found to exist.
In , the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention created the Disproportionate Minority Confinement initiative to help states comply with the mandate by testing various approaches for addressing the problem.
Pilot projects funded by the initiative suggested that attention. Research and social policy on race, crime, and the administration of justice in the United States are currently marked by a seeming conceptual and methodological impasse. This situation stems from efforts by researchers to explain the persistent overrepresentation of groups of racial and ethnic minorities in the juvenile and adult justice systems.
Some researchers and commentators have tended to focus on racially disproportionate offending behavior patterns as the primary cause of such a disparity, whereas others have highlighted the persistence of biases among decision makers in the justice system.
Furthermore, much of the debate has been carried out with an exceedingly narrow focus that fails to take account of the role that social injustice has played in the production of crime Clarke, ; Lane, ; McCord and Ensminger, in press. 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Although black youth represented approximately 15 percent of the U. 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.
In a report produced for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Hamparian, Leiber, and colleagues described the extent of disproportionate minority confinement of juveniles in state facilities. The report focused on six decision points arrest, secure detention, confinement in secure juvenile correctional facilities, in adult jails, and in adult lockups, and transfer to criminal court , using state data from the late s and early s.
Table presents findings on the over-. Source: Snyder and Sickmund ; Stahl et al. Hamparian et al. An index number larger than 1. The greater the index number, the larger the extent of overrepresentation. It should be noted that for some states, information was not available for the entire state. In these cases, the at-risk population was calculated for the designated area. All minority youth a. Note: Some of the numbers in this table differ slightly from those reported in Hamparian and Leiber for unknown reasons.
Table clearly reveals that minority youth are overrepresented at all stages of the juvenile justice system included in this analysis. This table also shows that the disparity for black youth is higher, in all cases except one, than for all minorities. This suggests that it is the disparity for blacks that is driving the disproportionate minority representation.
This also suggest that some other minorities are underrepresented in the juvenile justice system. Using these data, the smallest index number is 1. For black youth, the index for arrests across the 30 states that reported separately for blacks is 2. However, the data suggest that Hispanic and American Indian juveniles experience overrepresentation in the juvenile and adult justice systems, whereas Asian and Pacific Islander juveniles tend to be underrepresented.
The above information is presented in an attempt to make concrete the extent of disproportionate representation of racial minorities; however, there are several limitations to these findings that need to be acknowledged. One of the difficulties involved in trying to ascertain the extent of disproportionality in the juvenile justice system is that laws and practices vary by state, and this makes state-by-state comparisons problematic.
Thus, there are no standard reporting mechanisms that are comparable across states, and analyses that aggregate across jurisdictions may mask important information. The data used in the analysis by Hamparian and colleagues vary for the time period in which they were collected.
Information from some of the states is incomplete. Problems with assigning race or ethnicity are reflected in these statistics as well. This brief review, along with evidence cited in other chapters of this volume, strongly suggests that there is racial disparity at various points in the juvenile justice system and in various jurisdictions across the nation. The focus of the rest of this chapter is not to further document disparity, since the evidence appears fairly clear, despite the limitations of existing data.
Some of the nation's minority juveniles, most notably blacks, experience higher rates of arrest and further justice system involvement than do whites. The remainder of this chapter examines the research findings that may prove helpful for efforts to better interpret and understand these disparities and identify areas in which research or action is most urgently needed.
Earlier in the chapter, contrasting explanations of disproportionality were raised. The first—attributing the disparity to the behavior of the youth—suggests that the disparity is an accurate or reasonable reflection of the extent of involvement in delinquent and criminal behavior by these youth. The second perspective—attributing the disparity to. We first consider the evidence for race differences in delinquent behavior and then consider evidence of bias in the juvenile justice system.
To explore the possibility that the racial disparity observed in rates of justice system involvement arises as a result of racial differences in criminal conduct, the possibility of error in crime data must first be entertained.
Errors could lead to the appearance of racial disparity that, on closer examination, can be shown not to exist. Then, to the extent that racial disparity can be shown to exist, its causes must be explored. In the field of juvenile and criminal justice research, there are several measures that have been used to determine the extent of criminal behavior.
In Chapter 2 , the issues of measuring delinquency and crime were discussed and it was pointed out that none of the measures is without problems. There is fairly good agreement that the best approach to measuring crime is to use multiple sources of information Farrington, ; Loeber et al. The use of multiple sources of information may be especially rewarding for efforts to understand the sources and causes of racial and ethnic disparity. The three most common approaches to measuring delinquency and crime —self-report surveys, victimization surveys, and official arrest and conviction statistics—all indicate high rates of serious offending among young blacks.
While studies using differing methods and sources of data are not in agreement on the magnitude of differences in rates of involvement in youth crime across racial, ethnic, and social class categories, most research does show important differences, particularly with regard to race. Figure reveals the substantial overrepresentation of minority youth in official arrest data, showing major discrepancies between black and white youth.
These differences are on the order of magnitude of 1. The racial disparity in offending behavior is lower when the measure used as an index of offending is based on self-reports. For example, using data from the National Youth Survey, Elliott b found that, at age 17, 36 percent of black males, 25 percent of white males, 18 percent of black females, and 10 percent of white females reported committing a serious violent offense robbery, rape, or aggravated assault involving injury or a weapon in the previous year.
Thus, self-report data from this large nationally representative sample reveals differences in criminal behavior between black and white juveniles. It should be noted, however, that the discrepancies were not nearly as large as the differential revealed by offi-. Greenfeld presented results to the panel from an analysis of data from the National Crime Victimization Survey NCVS , the third source of criminal behavior information, for the years to annual average for robbery and aggravated assault for juvenile offenders.
The NCVS, conducted annually by the Bureau of Justice Statistics since , asks victims about their victimization experiences and about characteristics of the offender s who victimized them, including race. Information from the NCVS is helpful for crimes involving a personal confrontation like robbery, assault, or rape, but it is not very useful for property crimes for which there was no direct confrontation.
Juvenile offenders are defined as those whom victims indicated they believed to have been less than 18 years old. Several points are worth noting.
First, in both sources of information, black juveniles are overrepresented for these two crime types, compared with their proportion in the general population.
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Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. The panel has noted major disparities in the extent of involvement of minority youth, particularly black youth, compared with white youth in the juvenile justice system. The existence of disproportionate racial representation in the juvenile justice system raises questions about fundamental fairness and equality of treatment of these youth by the police, courts, and other personnel connected with the juvenile justice system. Furthermore, what happens to youth in their dealings or lack of dealings with the juvenile justice system may have substantial consequences for subsequent development and prospects for the future.
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