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NCJ Number: 199603 Find in a Library
Title: Balanced Justice or Racism in Juvenile Justice
Journal: Justice Policy Journal: Analyzing Criminal and Juvenile Justice Issues and Policies  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:Spring 2003  Pages:1-9
Author(s): Edward Pabon
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 9
Document: PDF
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article offers a theoretical critique of the juvenile justice system, mainly raising issues of classism and racism viewed as inherent in the current system.
Abstract: Due to frustration over the policy swings between rehabilitation models of juvenile justice and more punitive models, many judges, probation officers, and other juvenile justice personnel have embraced a new vision of juvenile justice known as accountability-based sanctions. Accountability-based justice means that juvenile offenders are held accountable for the crimes they commit and are sanctioned in proportion to their crimes. The author is critical of this new approach because it fails to acknowledge social structural and political inequalities that set up minority and lower class youth to be seen as delinquent youth. The author goes on to argue that society has increasingly set up a dichotomy between “my kids” and “not my kids,” in which middle class children are seen as deserving of attention, while lower class and minority children are seen as a problem. The hostility toward lower class and minority children serves to undermine public responsibility for these children. As such, these “undeserving” children are left on their own to fend for themselves, so to speak. The author points out that once these children understandably enter the juvenile justice system, they are treated more harshly than comparable white youths. One study revealed that cases involving white youths were more likely to be waived than similar cases involving Black or other minority youth. The author explains that as hostility toward “other people’s children” continues to grow, so too does the hostility present in the juvenile justice system, which consistently imposes more punitive sanctions on juvenile offenders. The author predicts that this trend toward harsh, punitive sanctions for juvenile offenders will continue until the juvenile justice system accepts the social structural and political inequalities that demonize certain groups of people. References
Main Term(s): Juvenile justice policies
Index Term(s): Class discrimination; Race-punishment relationship; Theory
Note: Downloaded March 20, 2003.
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