Are Intake Processes in Juvenile Justice Systems Really Fair

The many valid – and even disturbing – questions surrounding
fairness issues in the processing (arrest, intake screening,
assignment to incarceration) of juveniles into the criminal justice
system in America are not new questions; indeed, they have been raised
for a number of years.First, the disproportionate number of
minorities locked up in juvenile justice systems is a glaring issue
which has not really been addressed adequately since the U. S.
Department of Justice, under Attorney General Janet Reno, issued a
highly critical report in the year 2000; and secondly, in conducting
research, one finds an abundance of statistics on the number of
juveniles in trouble but little information about the screening
process per se.These are issues which need to be addressed, in
particular, if one believes the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of
Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) statistics that show
that the number of “child delinquents” (ages 7 to 12) in juvenile
courts has increased 33% in the past ten years (OJJPD, 2003), and
arrests for “violent crime” among that same group has risen by 45%.
Given this shocking dimension to the problem of youthful offenses, the
emphasis, sadly, is likely going to be on prevention and punishment
measures rather than fairness and justice with regard to intake
Race: Chances of incarceration are far greater if you’re a Black kid
Between the years 1985 and 1994, delinquency cases brought
through the Juvenile Justice System (JJS) increased by 41%; but more
disturbing is the fact that in that time period, delinquency cases
involving blacks jumped 78% and cases involving other non-white youths
skyrocketed by 94% (Lardiero, 1997).Another key fact illustrating
the institutiona…

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