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Blacks and Juvenile Crime: A Review (From The Criminal Justice System and Blacks, P 75-94, 1984, Daniel Georges-Abeyie, ed.)

NCJ Number
C E Pope
Date Published
20 pages
This chapter examines various trends and issues regarding blacks and juvenile crime and reviews the nature and scope of the juvenile crime problem, various ways of measuring it, and some inherent problems in doing so; the juvenile justice system is also discussed, including the ways in which youth are funneled into that system.
Official arrest statistics show that juvenile crime generally, and specifically among black youth, is a serious and increasing problem. These official statistics may not be an accurate representation of the crime problem, however; self- report surveys suggest that black and white youth commit delinquent acts in similar percentages. Victim surveys have tended to support the perception of official statistics. Perceptual distortions plague all three measurement sources. A variety of studies of the juvenile court and juvenile processing -- including police-juvenile encounters, the decision to detain, initial screening decisions, and final disposition -- show that there are substantial differences in the handling of status offenders; females are recipients of the most severe outcomes. Similarly, regarding race, this review of the juvenile court system has shown that at some points in time and in some jurisdictions, black youth are treated differently than white youth. These findings have not been consistent, however, in that some research shows no evidence of racial bias. Some of these inconsistent findings can be accounted for by sampling and other methodological problems, but others cannot. Findings which show that one's racial status affects juvenile court outcomes cannot, therefore, be categorically ignored and dismissed. 96 references