Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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Juvenile cases aren't always treated equally

When a child is accused of a crime, he or she is at risk of being incarcerated in the juvenile justice system. This is akin to going to prison, but juvenile facilities are designed to help younger people, most no older than 18.

The juvenile justice system has drawn many negative opinions, and there are good reasons for that. It's believed that people of color are over-represented in these systems, but anyone's case can face injustice.

Why is it believed that non-white races are placed in juvenile facilities more than white races?

The Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention has reported that there is evidence of racial and ethnic disparities in 31 out of 36 surveyed states. That means that there are discrepancies in these states that make it clear that equal treatment may not have been present in the cases of all involved.

The people this most often affects include Black, Latino, Southeast Asian and Native American youth. To address this issue, staff members of the courts and juvenile facilities need to be retrained to identify disparities in the system.

This retraining should draw attention to the manners in which racial and ethnic disparities can be reduced and eliminated. For example, if a White child faces 60 days in the juvenile justice system for theft, a similar situation with an Asian child should also result in a similar penalty. If the White child does not go to the facility for the crime and the Asian child does, the cases should be significantly different to justify this discrepancy.

In cases where a youth has been unfairly treated, it would not be unreasonable to seek a review of the case by an attorney.

Source: The W. Haywood Burns Institute for Juvenile Justice Fairness & Equity, "What is R.E.D.?," accessed Dec. 01, 2016

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