Inequality in the juvenile justice system is a problem that is starting to be noticed. The unfair treatment and harsh punishments of minorities has grown more and more as juveniles are being sentenced. You see the most racial disparity when it comes giving juvenile life without parole. The chance of a minority receiving juvenile life without parole is way more likely than the chance of a white youth to get juvenile life without parole. Majority of the time white youths commit the same the crimes but do not receive as harsh sentences a minority youths. There one was one statistic that really stood out to me between the racial disparities of white youth compared to youths of color. “The proportion of African Americans serving JLWOP sentences for the killing of a white person (43.4%) is nearly twice the rate at which African American juveniles are arrested for taking a white person’s life (23.2%). Conversely, white juvenile offenders with black victims are only about half as likely (3.6%) to receive a JLWOP sentence as their proportion of arrests for killing blacks (6.4%).” If it is the same crime the difference between who receives juvenile life should not be so far apart as it is. White youths should not have that much as an advantage when the courts decides what to sentence someone. Murder is not the only statistic where white youths don’t get punished with harsh sentences. Many of the individuals who receive juvenile life without parole for committing non-violent crimes are still at more of a disadvantage than white youths who commit the same crimes.
Youths of color continue to simply be charge life without parole than white youths for non-violent crimes and murder crimes with no explanation it just remains to seem as racial injustice. Majority of these charges happen while individuals are still juveniles. Most of the non-violent offenses should not charge juveniles with life should be more understandable and consider that the delinquents are still young and should still serve time but not life without parole in which seems to happen with white youths. As I was doing this research I was shocked about the racial disparity in the juvenile justice system you don’t really here about a lot of this information. Many of people here about the injustice that happens in the adult court system and how there is a high number of minorities that are incarcerated and populate most of the adult correctional facilities throughout the United States. In our society the injustice in the juvenile justice system needs to be more aware to our society because most of the inmates that are incarcerated in the adult system start their life sentences in juvenile correctional facilities then are transferred to adult system. In the juvenile system juveniles should not continue to receive life without parole sentences especially for non- violent crimes. Juvenile still have the chance to turn their life around from mistakes that were made at such a young age. Many juvenile transform and become better people while going through correctional facilities. Juvenile justice system should focus more on rehabilitation instead of giving life without parole.
Questions: Should the Juvenile justice system still be allowed to crime Juveniles life without parole sentences?
What are some of the reason why prosecutors continue to give minorities harsher sentences that white youth for similar crimes?
Bilchik, S. (1999). Minorities in the Juvenile Justice System. U.S. Department of Justice. Retrieved December 15, 2015, from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/179007.pdf
Nellis, A. (2012). The Lives of Juvenile Lifers. The Sentencing Project. Retrieved December 15, 2015, from http://sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/publications/jj_The_Lives_of_Juvenile_Lifers.pdf
Thornberry, T. (n.d.). Race, Socioeconomic Status and Sentencing in the Juvenile Justice System. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology (1973-), 64(1), 90-90. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5840&context=jclc
Turner, J., & Dakwar, J. (2014). Hearing on Reports of Racism in the Justice System of the United States. American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved December 16, 2015, from https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/assets/141027_iachr_racial_disparities_aclu_submission_0.pdf