Minimizing Harm from Minority Disproportion in American Juvenile Justice

Franklin E. Zimring

in Our Children, Their Children

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226319889
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226319919 | DOI:
Minimizing Harm from Minority Disproportion in American Juvenile Justice

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This chapter identifies some of the key policy choices that must be made in reducing injustices found in American juvenile courts. A clear definition of goals and priorities is absolutely essential to intelligent policy planning. Reducing the hazards of juvenile court processing may be a better approach to protecting minority youths than just trying to reduce the proportion of juvenile court cases with minority defendants. The chapter presents the conceptual equipment necessary to assess the impact of legal policies on minority populations and discusses whether it is best to consider the minority concentrations in juvenile justice as a special problem in the juvenile justice system or as part of the generally higher risk exposures found in criminal justice and other state control systems. Harm reduction is proposed as the principal criterion by which policies designed to respond to minority disproportion should be judged.

Keywords: American juvenile courts; minority youths; legal policies; juvenile justice

Chapter.  5843 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Family Law

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