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NCJ Number: NCJ 241471     Find in a Library
Title: Minority Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: Disproportionate Minority Contact
  Document URL: PDF 
Author(s): Jeff Armour ; Sarah Hammond
Corporate Author: National Conference of State Legislators
United States of America
Date Published: 01/2009
Page Count: 12
  Annotation: After defining and noting the prevalence of disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile justice system, this paper identifies explanations for this circumstance and describes promising approaches for addressing this issue.
Abstract: “Disproportionate minority contact” in juvenile justice occurs when minority youth come into contact with the system at a higher rate than their White counterparts when compared with their proportion of the U.S. population. Minority youth are disproportionately represented throughout juvenile justice systems in nearly every State. Research by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency and the Center for Children’s Law and Policy indicate that minority youth receive harsher treatment than their White counterparts at nearly every stage of the juvenile justice process. Various explanations have emerged for this disproportionate treatment of minorities in juvenile justice systems throughout the Nation. They range from jurisdictional issues, certain police practices, punitive juvenile crime legislation enacted in the 1990s, and racial bias inherent in case processing decisions. There have been promising efforts to address the issue of disproportionate minority contact with juvenile justice systems. The Federal Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 directed States to recognize and address racial disparities in their juvenile justice systems. Amendments to this legislation have since broadened its scope in addressing all stages of decisionmaking in dealing with youth in the juvenile justice process. In 2004, the MacArthur Foundation established Models for Chance in four States. This effort has developed a “blueprint” for juvenile justice reform and the accelerating of “progress toward more rational, fair, effective and developmentally sound juvenile justice systems.” In 1992, the Annie E. Casey Foundation launched the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), which aims to reduce disproportionate contact and confinement in the juvenile justice system while developing more and diverse community-based programs for all juveniles. 32 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile justice reform
Index Term(s): Juvenile processing ; Discretionary decisions ; Racial discrimination ; Minority juvenile offenders ; Juvenile justice policies ; Minority overrepresentation
Sponsoring Agency: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
United States of America
Publication Number: ISBN 978-1-58024-538-8
Sale Source: National Conference of State Legislators
444 North Capitol Street, NW
Suite 203, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States of America
Type: Issue Overview ; Legislation/Policy Analysis
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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