Overview of Juvenile Justice • The concepts of juvenile delinquency and juvenile justice are of recent origin. • The phrase juvenile justice system is used to refer to the agencies and processes responsible for the prevention and control of juvenile delinquency. • The most important stages of the juvenile justice process are: • referrals (usually by police) • Intake • Adjudication • Disposition.
The History of Race and Juvenile Justice • In Colonial era, slave owners were not tolerant of misbehavior among their young slaves • In the North, increasing urbanization, industrialization, and immigration, caused growing concern about youth crime. • As early as 1819, concerned citizens in New York City formed the Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, which later became known as the Society for the Reformation of Juvenile Delinquents. • Early to mid 1800s house of refuges for Whites and Black youth opened across the country
Child Savers • Child savers were activists comprised of middle and upper-class females and others • Child savers were concerned with the plight of poor, vagrant, and neglected children • Youth facilities were originally opened in order to separate delinquents from adults and the poor conditions found in prisons • Like White child savers, the early Black child savers were initially women of a higher social class • Black child savers faced a system that was unwilling to invest in the rehabilitation of Black youth • Historically Black Colleges were at the forefront of the movement to help Black youth
Juvenile Courts • The juvenile court was designed to handle the special needs of children not only in juvenile facilities but in court as well. • By the mid-1930s, most states had legislated some form of juvenile courts. • Very little information is available about the treatment of Black and minority youth in these courts prior to the 1980s.
Juvenile Crime and Victimization • Concern is related to the disproportionate number of youth, especially Black and other minority youth, who are arrested and confined. • Available helps us understand juvenile participation in crime as arrestees, victims, and those who are processed in the juvenile justice system. • Juvenile arrests have fluctuated over time.
Juvenile Crime and Victimization, cont. • The majority of arrestees are males, although the number of female arrestees has increased in recent years • Many Americans mistakenly believe that minority youth commit most delinquency • 67.1% of arrests (Whites) • 30.3% of arrests (Blacks) • Misinformed views are dispensed by the news media, and because of their disproportionate involvement in violent crimes • 51% of violent crimes (Blacks) • 66% of arrests for property crime (Whites)
Juvenile Crime and Victimization, cont. • Homicide was the fourth leading cause of death for children ages 1–11 in 2002. • The NCVS includes reported: Violent victimizations • rape, • sexual assault, • robbery, • aggravated assault • simple assault
Juvenile Crime and Victimization, cont. Property victimizations • Attempted and completed theft • Household burglary • Motor vehicle theft • Youth 16 to 19 years of age had the highest prevalence rate for sexual assault victimizations.
Juvenile Crime and Victimization, cont. • Violent victimization is related to individual, family and community characteristics. • A youth’s risk of being a violent crime victim is most likely due to family and community characteristics, not race. • Juveniles are as likely to be victims of suicide as they are to be victims of homicide. • More than half of all victims of child maltreatment were white. • Drug and alcohol use are more common among juvenile offenders than among students.
Juvenile Court Statistics • Every year juvenile courts send data that results in the publication of juvenile court statistics • In 2004, 1.66 million delinquency cases • Most cases were property offenses • Public order offenses were next • Obstruction of justice • Disorderly conduct • Weapons offenses • Delinquency cases declined from 1995 to 2004 • Whites were involved in 2/3 of the cases • There were 159,400 status offenses in 2004 • Most of these were for truancy or liquor law violations
Disproportionate Minority Contact • Disproportionate minority confinement/contact (DMC) refers to the problem of overrepresentation of minority youth at different stages in the juvenile justice system. • For some youth, delinquency and crime are accepted behaviors. • The “street factor” often requires involvement in crime to prove one’s toughness; violence is viewed favorably, often as a way of gaining status.
Disproportionate Minority Contact, cont. • The U.S. Congress formerly addressed DMC in 1988 by amending the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (JJDP) Act of 1974 • DMC Process involves: • Assigning organizational responsibility for issue • Identifying the extent of DMC • Assessing the reasons for DMC, if it exists • Developing an intervention plan for DMC • Evaluating strategies for DMC • Monitoring DMC trends
Disproportionate Minority Contact, cont. • There are several challenges to reducing DMC that include: • Lack of resources • Inadequate information systems • Developing intervention strategies • Transitioning from planning (state) to implementation (local).
Minority Female Delinquency • Girls’ delinquency is not a new phenomenon, although it receives much more attention today than in the past. • It is important to keep in mind that violent crimes are a small portion of youth arrests. • Youth arrests have declined in recent years, and more males than females are arrested for delinquency
Minority Female Delinquency, cont. • While the extent of female delinquency is less than male delinquency, patterns of behavior and risk factors for both groups are quite similar. • We do know that according to the most recent data available, minority females comprise a disproportionate share of females in residential placement.
Juveniles, Race, and the Death Penalty • Youngest person executed in the United States was 10-year old James Arcene who was a Cherokee • Since the second World War, the only juvenile that has been executed was 14-year old George Stinney who was African American • Today there are no juveniles under sentence of death as a result of the 2005 US Supreme Court decision in Roper v. Simmons. • All juveniles who receive death sentences have been tried as adults, and usually have committed homicide.
Juveniles, Race, and the Death Penalty, cont. • Throughout U.S. history, there have been 12 known cases where juveniles were executed for crimes committed before the age of 14. • The first juvenile executed in the United States was Thomas Graunger, executed in Plymouth, Massachusetts, for committing the crime of bestiality when he was 16.
Delinquency Prevention • The federal government has provided billions of dollars to state and local governments to assist them in their efforts to prevent crime. • Monies spent on prevention is not equal to monies spent on punishment • Get tough movement also impacted the juvenile justice system • It is also important to know what works in delinquency prevention in any community where there is a heightened problem of: • Fear • Violence • Victimization
Delinquency Prevention, cont. • What programs do not work? • Zero tolerance policies • Curfew laws • Punishment without treatment and rehab • Removal of youth from their families and communities • Shock incarceration • Waiving/transferring juvenile to the adult system • Incarceration of juveniles into adult prisons
Delinquency Prevention, cont. • Identifying programs for minority youth that work is difficult • Some of the more promising ones include: • Boys & Girls Club of America mentoring programs • Culturally specific drug programs • Violence prevention programs that consider problem- an emotion-focused coping strategies • Culturally specific prevention programs have had mixed results