Racial Justice Concerns in the Juvenile Justice System Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Forensic Social Work: Discussion 9

Discuss whether or not the Juvenile Justice System is a racial justice issue.

It is important to note, from the onset, that according to Robles-Ramamurthy and Watson (2019), there are various research studies that have been conducted in the past in an attempt to assess the extent of racial disparities in the juvenile justice system. As the authors further point out, there are many who have also “raised concerns about the differential treatment and selection of youth based on race” (117). There is no doubt whatsoever that when racial representation in the juvenile justice system is disproportionate, concerns about equality of treatment as well as fundamental fairness are bound to be raised. At present, the juvenile justice system has major disparities in as far as minority youth involvement versus white youth involvement is concerned.

It should be noted that as the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2001) observe, the juvenile justice system has grappled with the issue of racial justice for a long period of time. Thus, in an attempt to reign in this issue, various measures have been implemented in the past. For instance, in 1988, there was an amendment to the Juvenile justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (of 1974) to ensure that “that states participating in the act's formula grants program address disproportionate confinement of minority juveniles in secure facilities” (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine 2001, p. 228). It is also important to note that four years later, a new initiative was created by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention…

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…to reign in racial disparities in the juvenile justice system are yet to bear fruit. Indeed, according to the NCSL (2020), "minority youth disproportionately outnumber those who are white at every stage in the nation's juvenile justice system." As NCSL (2020) further observes, the MacArthur Foundation's assessments in the past indicate that two-thirds of youths going through the system are youths of color. It would be prudent to note that the said minority youth comprise of just a third of the total youth population in the U.S. This is a clear indication that to remedy the situation, a more radical course of action ought to be embraced. At present, "youth of color remain disproportionately represented at nearly all contact points in the juvenile justice system—from arrest through charging, confinement, and transfer to adult court" (National…

Sources Used in Documents:


National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2001). Juvenile Crime, Juvenile Justice. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

National Conference of State Legislatures – NCSL (2020). Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System. Retrieved from https://www.ncsl.org/research/civil-and-criminal-justice/racial-and-ethnic-disparities-in-the-juvenile-justice-system.aspx

National Juvenile Justice Network (2020). Reducing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Juvenile Justice Systems: Promising Practices. Retrieved from http://www.njjn.org/our-work/reducing-racial-and-ethnic-disparities-in-juvenile-justice-systems-promising-practices

Robles-Ramamurthy, B. & Watson, C. (2019). Examining Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice. The Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 48(3), 115-125.

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