On Causes and Partial Cures
This chapter considers the overrepresentation of disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities in the courtrooms and detention cells of American juvenile justice. Throughout the world, the poor and disadvantaged get caught up in the machinery of social control in numbers far greater than their share of the population. In the United States, the long shadow of racism adds another important dimension of concern about young people who are already at a serious disadvantage. The handicaps imposed on the youth by arrest, detention, adjudication, and incarceration fall disproportionately on males from disadvantaged minority groups. In this regard, reducing the hazards of juvenile court processing may be a better approach to protecting minority youth than reducing the proportion of juvenile court cases with minority defendants.
Keywords: ethnic minorities, American juvenile justice, social control, racism, social disadvantage