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A New Juvenile Justice SystemTotal Reform for a Broken System$
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Nancy E. Dowd

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781479898800

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479898800.001.0001

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date: 14 December 2017

Correcting Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System

Correcting Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System

Refining Prosecutorial Discretion

(p.193) 10 Correcting Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System
A New Juvenile Justice System

Kristin Henning

NYU Press

This chapter focuses on the pervasive racial disparities in the existing juvenile justice system. Notwithstanding the growing body of developmental research demonstrating that much of juvenile crime and delinquency is the product of normal adolescent development, contemporary narratives portraying youth of color as dangerous and irredeemable lead police, probation officers, and prosecutors to reject age as an excuse or mitigation for these youth. Aggressive institutional approaches toward adolescent offending, motivated by explicit or implicit racial bias, thus lead to the disproportionate arrest and prosecution of black and Hispanic youth. The chapter considers reform in prosecutorial decision making at the intake stage as a viable strategy to reduce disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system.

Keywords:   racial disparities, juvenile crime, adolescent offending, black youth, Hispanic youth, prosecutorial decision making

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