The Effects Of Race On The Criminal Processing And Decision Making Of Juvenile Offenders

1353 Words Mar 31st, 2016 null Page
Introduction The juvenile justice system has long been a topic of discussion. These discussions consisted of whether or not the system should exist at all and, after it was established, there was debate regarding what rights should and should not be granted to juveniles. The racial disparities that disproportionately affect African American and Latino youth soon became a large part of this discussion. This caused a number of questions to arise regarding the affect race has in juvenile justice decision making. Are these racial disparities a result of discrimination or bias that is prevalent within arresting officers, the juvenile court or both? This paper will examine the effect of race and social context on the treatment, processing and incarceration of juveniles. The effects and implications of race in the criminal processing and decision making of juvenile offenders can be better understood only after examining its possible causes.
Literature Review Kerbs (1999) discusses some of the public opinions of Barry Feld, a well-known figure strongly advocating for the abolition of the juvenile court. (p. 110) Some of the assumptions Feld makes about the juvenile system can be applied to the due processing, sentencing and treatment of juveniles and how differences in quality of this treatment and processing disproportionately affect African Americans and are a result of the social context surrounding them. Feld’s first assumption is that criminal courts can award equal if not…

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