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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78073 Find in a Library
Title: Economically Disavantaged (Hispanic) Youth in the Juvenile Justice System (From Report From the National Hispanic Conference on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, P 475-512, 1981 - See NCJ-78060)
Author(s): E Pena
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 34
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This discussion of the economically-disadvantaged youth's handling by the juvenile justice system examines the juvenile justice information system, arrest and detention, court disposition, legal representation, and the discretionary transfer of juveniles to criminal court.
Abstract: Although accurate statistics on the characteristics of youth processed by the juvenile justice system are not available, new evidence extracted from court records indicates that the juvenile justice system is prejudicial against minorities. Court involvement is preceded by the arrests and detention of disproportionate numbers of minority youth. Most juvenile court personnel lack knowledge and sensitivity regarding the nature and impact of the lifestyles of disadvantaged youth and their families. Court personnel tend to be judgmentally harsh and punitive toward those who have deviated from their own middle class values. In addition, dispositions are limited not only by judicial frames of reference but also by the limited battery of disposition options. Moreover, disadvantaged youth, while having court-appointed legal representation, appear to lack committed and competent legal representation. Incentives for the court to provide such representation are few. The limited data available also suggest the discriminatory use of transfers to adult criminal court. The first step toward reform of the juvenile justice system must be a refinement of information systems, so that accurate data can form the basis for a definitive analysis of how the system currently makes decisions respecting disadvantaged youth. Specific recommendations for reform in the areas discussed are listed, and guidelines are appended for law enforcement agencies' handling of all juvenile offenders under Title III, Family Code.
Index Term(s): Defense services; Judicial discretion; Juvenile court waiver; Juvenile detention; Juvenile justice system; Legal aid services; Minorities; Police discretion; Racial discrimination
Note: Microfiche version of this document is under NCJ-78060.
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