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The Justice System-What's Wrong
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Yellow Spinning Ball Enclosed with Webbing

As the blurring of the line between juvenile and criminal court increases, so does the likelihood that these trends will disproportionately effect minority youth. Already, African American juveniles are overrepresented with respect to their proportion in the population at every decision point in the process. African Americans were:
* 15% of youth under age 18.
* 26% of juvenile arrests.
* 31% of referrals to juvenile court.
* 44% of the detained population.
* 34% of youth formally processed by the juvenile court.
* 32% of youth adjuciated delinquent.
* 46% of youth judicially waived to criminal court.
* 40% of youth in residential placement.
* 58% of youth admitted to stated adult prison.

Adjudicated delinquency cases involving White juveniles (56%) were generally more likely to result in formal probation than were cases involving either African American youth (53%) or youth of other races (51%) in 1997. This was true among all offense categories except public order offenses. The difference in the likelihood of probation was most pronounced among adjudcicated drug offense cases. In 1997, 61% adjudicated drug offense cases involving White youth resulted in probation compared 49% of cases involving African American youth.


U.S. law enforcement agencies made an estimated 2.6 million arrests of persons age 18 in 1998. The majority of those arrests involved white youth. Still,African American youth were over represented in most offense categories