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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77324 Find in a Library
Title: Black Crime and the New York State Juvenile Offender Law - A Consideration of the Effects of Lowering the Age of Criminal Responsibility (From Major Issues in Juvenile Justice Information and Training - Readings in Public Policy, P 295-308, 1981, John C Hall et al, ed. - See NCJ-77318)
Author(s): G E Hairston
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 14
Sponsoring Agency: Academy for Contemporary Problems
Sale Source: Academy for Contemporary Problems
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An examination of the 1978 New York State Juvenile Offender Law and its impact on blacks produced the conclusion that the law had a disproportionate impact on blacks.
Abstract: The law made children aged 13, 14, and 15 criminally responsible for murder, while those 14 years and above were made similarly responsible for the crimes of manslaughter, rape, kidnapping, assault, robbery, arson, and burglary in the highest degrees. During the first year the law was in effect, 86 percent of the serious juvenile offender arrests in the State were made in New York City, and 71 percent of those were black. The disproportionate rate of arrests of black youths points to the need to understand the nature and reasons for black crime. Presidential commissions of the 1960's noted the connection between crime and such urban problems as slum conditions, ghettos of poverty, inadequate schools, high unemployment, and broken homes. The current high black arrest rates appear to be related to the continuing high rates of poverty and unemployment. The Juvenile Offender Law has rejected the rehabilitative model of the juvenile justice system and condoned and openly applied punishment and social control. This change has had the greatest impact on blacks. In addition, removal of status offenders, who are largely white, from the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts, increasingly shielded whites from punitive sanctions through diversion and restitution programs. Thus, juvenile institutions and prisons will become increasingly black and poor. Hence, when measured on an impact test scale, the current trends in handling juvenile offenders appear to be racially motivated. One table and footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Juvenile codes; Juvenile court waiver; New York; Racial discrimination; State laws
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