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Youth, Race, and Serious Crime: Examining Trends and Critiquing Policy

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science & Management Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Dated: Summer 2011 Pages: 132-148
Peter J. Benekos; Alida V. Merlo; Charles M. Puzzanchera
Date Published
17 pages
This study explored trends in juvenile crime in the United States as measured by arrests and examined indicators of how juvenile courts handle juvenile offenders.
In this study, the authors examine the trends in juvenile violent offending over a 20 year period and focus specifically on the race of the offender. Although aggregate data indicate the disproportionate representation of Black youth in the juvenile justice system, it is difficult to determine the role that race plays in specific violent offenses. By focusing on murder, rape, aggravated assault, and robbery, the authors contend that a more complete picture of youthful offending and the system responses emerge. The trend data clearly demonstrate continuing disproportionate handling of Black juvenile offenders. Policy implications and future directions are also explored. (Published Abstract)