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NCJ Number: 174661 Find in a Library
Title: High Cost of Juvenile Justice
Journal: Fordham Urban Law Journal  Volume:20  Issue:3  Dated:Spring 1993  Pages:659-668
Author(s): D R Gatewood
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 10
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This essay discusses the high cost of incarcerating substantial numbers of minority juveniles and advocates alternatives to the detention of juveniles.
Abstract: Part of the imbalance in juvenile detention and adjudication rates is due to the fact that black and Hispanic juveniles are more likely than white youths to be arrested for similar crimes; there is a trend of racial disparity in arrest reports, and racial bias in arrest procedures has been well-documented. Further, in the last decade, beginning with the Reagan administration, juvenile justice has moved to the right, with the focus on incarcerating delinquent youth and trying many more of them as adults. Today, more youth than ever are confined, despite the fact that over the past two decades the juvenile population nationwide has dropped. Moreover, despite the precedent established in In re Gault, which affirms the right to free legal counsel for juvenile defendants, minority youth remain entangled in the criminal justice process because they are less likely to be afforded quality legal representation. Fiscal constraints in State budgets have severely impacted the quality of services provided by public defenders offices and legal aid services. The increased use of incarceration for juveniles has failed to rehabilitate them, while it has increased corrections costs. A number of reforms could improve the cost-effectiveness of the juvenile justice system. First, lawyers, judges, and bar associations must recommend upgrading lower court facilities that serve a substantial minority clientele. Second, the legal community must support greater use of minority police officers in cities with significant minority populations. Third, a variety of alternatives to incarceration should be implemented; one option is diversion from the juvenile justice system. Finally, cost- benefit analysis could be a useful tool for determining which types of programs would provide the greatest benefits for a given community with certain types of juveniles. 47 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juvenile justice policies
Index Term(s): Alternatives to institutionalization; Juvenile detention; Juvenile diversion programs; Juvenile justice reform; Juvenile justice system; Juvenile processing; Minority overrepresentation; Race-punishment relationship
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