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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76756 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Delinquency - A Community Perspective
Journal: Agenda  Volume:9  Issue:3  Dated:(September/October 1979)  Pages:15-19
Author(s): M Sotomayor
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper provides data on crime and other problems faced by Hispano Americans, criticizes the criminal justice system's attitudes and responses to the problem, and calls for a community-based approach for dealing with crime, especially juvenile delinquency in Hispanic communities.
Abstract: Although Hispanics constitute the Nation's second largest minority group, they are unlikely to be represented in policymaking efforts to improve the criminal justice system and combat crime. Numerous statistics point out the inequities in criminal justice and corrections with respect to the poor and minorities. Hispanics are underrepresented among correctional administrators and the Department of Justice work force. They are also likely to be disproportionately represented among crime victims because they are largely poor, yet data documenting this statement are unavailable because Hispanics are classified as 'white' in nearly all crime reports. Ethnicity will probably be properly classified starting in 1980, however, to conform to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Nevertheless, a firm understanding of crime and juvenile delinquency among Hispanics is lacking, and these problems are almost never addressed in terms of community crime prevention. Hispanics must become part of the decisionmaking process for community participation to occur. A Texas study showed that arrested Hispanic youths faced mostly minor charges but were generally taken to court rather than released to parents or referred to services, despite the prevalence of intact families among Hispanics. Moreover, criminal justice facilities were distant from the population served. Los Angeles data indicate that 100 of the city's 200 gangs are Chicano. Research indicates that gang violence is a learned phenomenon and is supported by numerous community factors. Studies are needed of the ways nondelinquent youths avoid trouble in neighborhoods with high crime. Case examples indicate that avoidance of delinquency is possible. This study also demonstrates a community-oriented research approach which, along with a unified community effort, are needed to deal with such problems as gangs in Hispanic communities. Research to date also indicates that traditional psychotherapeutic and law enforcement approaches are ineffective in dealing with youthful gangs in Hispanic communities. Future efforts should focus on the whole behavioral ecology of a community with a high rate of juvenile crime. Hispanic youths also need constructive options in order to avoid delinquency.
Index Term(s): Community involvement; Community resources; Critiques; Cultural influences; Discrimination; Hispanic Americans; Juvenile delinquency factors; Juvenile/Youth Gangs; Police community relations
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