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NCJ Number: 64174 Find in a Library
Title: DELINQUENCY OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN
Journal: JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW AND CRIMINOLOGY  Volume:36  Dated:(1945)  Pages:75-84
Author(s): H VONHENTIG
Corporate Author: Northwestern University
United States of America
Date Published: 1945
Page Count: 10
Sponsoring Agency: Northwestern University
Evanston, IL 60201
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE TYPES AND CAUSES OF CRIMES COMMITTED BY AMERICAN INDIANS WERE ANALYZED IN A 1945 STUDY BASED ON UNIFORM CRIME REPORTS AND CENSUS INFORMATION.
Abstract: DURING THE PERIOD 1935 TO 1944 ARRESTS OF INDIANS INCREASED, AND ARRESTS AND PRISON ADMISSIONS WERE PROPORTIONATELY HIGHER FOR INDIANS THAN FOR WHITES. INDIANS IN THE UNITED STATES IN 1945 WERE SUBJECT TO THREE JURISDICTIONS--FEDERAL, STATE, AND INDIAN COURTS--BUT MOST CASES WERE DECIDED BY INDIAN COURTS. MANY INDIANS IDENTIFIED BY THE CENSUS WERE NOT FULL-BLOODED, AND THE DEFINITION OF HOW MUCH INDIAN BLOOD LEGALLY CONSTITUTED AN INDIAN VARIED CONSIDERABLY. ALTHOUGH THE SUPERINTENDENTS OF INDIAN RESERVATIONS EXERCISED SOME DISCRETIONARY POWER OVER THE INDIAN COURTS, THIS PRIVILEGE HAD NO LEGAL BASIS. A 1929 SURVEY OF INDIANS SHOWED THAT DRUNKENNESS ACCOUNTED FOR OVER HALF OF ALL INDIAN OFFENSES. OTHER OFFENSES, SUCH AS SEX, GAME LAW, AND CERTAIN PROPERTY OFFENSES WERE NOT OFFENSES BY TRADITIONAL INDIAN LAW. WHILE THE INDIAN COURTS PUNISHED WITH JAIL SENTENCES, THE REGULAR COURTS RELIED ON FINES BECAUSE OF PRISON OVERCROWDING AND THE BELIEF THAT JAIL WAS OFTEN MORE COMFORTABLE THAN THE INDIANS' HOMES. INDIAN DELINQUENCY DIFFERED FROM THAT OF OTHER RACIAL MINORITIES BECAUSE OF CULTURAL VALUES THAT WERE IN CONFLICT WITH LEGAL CODES AND THE IMPACT ON INDIAN MALES OF THEIR ECONOMIC DISPLACEMENT. THESE HANDICAPS WERE AGGRAVATED BY INDIAN CUSTOMS OF HOSPITALITY AND SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR COMBINED WITH OVERCROWDED LIVING CONDITIONS WHICH PROMOTED DISEASES SUCH AS TUBERCULOSIS AND SYPHILIS. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (MJM)
Index Term(s): American Indians; Crime Causes; Crime rate studies; Cultural influences; Indian justice; Reservation crimes; Tribal court system; Tribal history
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64174

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