8
Juvenile and Criminal Justice

America's juvenile and criminal justice systems assume major roles in the lives of increasing numbers of adolescents, especially the adolescent children of racial and ethnic minorities and the inner-city poor. Involvement with the justice system often compounds other institutional difficulties, including failure in school and in finding work. As a result, it frequently foreshadows adverse occupational, marital, and health-related outcomes as an adult, as well as continuing contact with the police and courts.

The juvenile justice system that emerged early in this century included training and reform schools and other forms of institutionalization, but it also made frequent use of suspended sentences and probationary dispositions for the rehabilitation of delinquents in the community. Now, however, the juvenile justice system has many of the adversarial and punitive characteristics of the adult criminal justice system (Krisberg et al., 1986). The Supreme Court's 1967 Gault decision, for example, extended the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment's right to counsel to delinquency proceedings. At the same time, many states shifted their delinquency statutes toward deterrence and away from treatment and rehabilitation and also provided for waiving juvenile cases to adult courts and for more punitive treatment by juvenile court judges. The division between juvenile and criminal courts became more permeable, and the two systems became more alike.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings 8 Juvenile and Criminal Justice America's juvenile and criminal justice systems assume major roles in the lives of increasing numbers of adolescents, especially the adolescent children of racial and ethnic minorities and the inner-city poor. Involvement with the justice system often compounds other institutional difficulties, including failure in school and in finding work. As a result, it frequently foreshadows adverse occupational, marital, and health-related outcomes as an adult, as well as continuing contact with the police and courts. The juvenile justice system that emerged early in this century included training and reform schools and other forms of institutionalization, but it also made frequent use of suspended sentences and probationary dispositions for the rehabilitation of delinquents in the community. Now, however, the juvenile justice system has many of the adversarial and punitive characteristics of the adult criminal justice system (Krisberg et al., 1986). The Supreme Court's 1967 Gault decision, for example, extended the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination and the Sixth Amendment's right to counsel to delinquency proceedings. At the same time, many states shifted their delinquency statutes toward deterrence and away from treatment and rehabilitation and also provided for waiving juvenile cases to adult courts and for more punitive treatment by juvenile court judges. The division between juvenile and criminal courts became more permeable, and the two systems became more alike.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Another important reform in juvenile justice in almost all jurisdictions involves handling ''status offenses" differently from "juvenile crime." Status offenses are actions that are offenses solely because of the age of the offender: running away from home, truancy, curfew violation, being a "person in need of supervision," being "incorrigible," etc. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Act of 1974 required that states receiving federal delinquency prevention monies begin to divert and "deinstitutionalize" their status offenders. Overall, increasing numbers of young people pass directly or indirectly from the juvenile to the criminal justice system, and the latter system also is populated disproportionately by older teenagers and young adults. CRIME, MINORITIES, AND CONCENTRATED POVERTY An increasing number of adolescents engage in, and are arrested for, violent crimes. In 1991, 130,000 arrests of youths ages 10 to 17 were made for rape, robbery, homicide, or aggravated assault—an increase of 48 percent since 1986 (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 1993). Minorities, especially blacks, are very disproportionately both the victims and the perpetrators of crime in the United States. The U.S. Department of Justice's annual National Crime Survey, a nationwide residential survey of the general public about their experiences as victims of crime, shows that blacks experience rates of rape, aggravated assault, and armed robbery that are approximately 25 percent higher than those for whites, rates of motor vehicle theft that are about 70 percent higher, and rates of robbery victimization that are more than 150 percent higher. For much of the past half century, rates of black homicide deaths have ranged from six to seven times those for whites (Hawkins, 1986; Rose and McClain, 1990). The experience of crime is felt disproportionately by the young and the poor, less well-off socioeconomic segments of black communities. For example, children under 16 are victims of robbery at a rate of over 1,000 per 100,000 population, which is three times the rate for persons 65 or older (Gottfredson and Hindelang, 1981). For many youths, victimization is a consequence of the risk of living in a highly criminal environment; for others, it is a consequence of direct participation in the criminal activities that prevail in this environment (Fagan et al., 1987). Victimization can sometimes lead to offending: some crime in minority neighborhoods may be a product of retaliation and revenge-seeking acts that are a frequent part of gang and peer group associations (Black,

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings 1983; Stafford, 1984). In this context, the line between victimization and offending can be unclear; the act itself is partly a reflection and partly a cause of the youth's "diffuse aggression" (Blau and Blau, 1982). Even living in proximity to high-crime areas may increase the risk of victimization. Although poor blacks do suffer greatly, middle-class and near-poor blacks seem to suffer the greatest losses from crime victimization (Jaynes and Williams, 1989). Public opinion surveys indicate that many middle-class blacks believe that the police and courts fail to protect them from the growing problems of crime, and at the same time mistreat them in their encounters with justice officials. These perceptions have been reinforced by the Rodney King beating and similar encounters, but middle-class blacks have long complained of such harassment (see Russell, 1966). Research confirms that black Americans, especially those who have achieved positions of high status, share a pervasive perception of injustice at the hands of the law enforcement system (Hagan and Albonetti, 1982). Blacks make up about 12 percent of the U.S. population and Hispanic Americans about 8 percent, but both groups are arrested for a higher proportion of serious crimes against persons. Blacks account for more than 40 percent of all homicides, forcible rapes, armed robberies, and aggravated assaults, and Hispanic Americans account for about 14 percent of these violent crimes against persons. For less serious property crimes, blacks account for a quarter to a third of all arsons, car thefts, burglaries, and larceny/thefts (Harris, 1991); Hispanic Americans account for about 11 percent of these property crimes. Like homicide, these crimes also peak in mid-to late adolescence. Young black males who experience education and employment problems are at exceptionally high risk of arrest, imprisonment, or criminal victimization (Freeman, 1991). Consider the following: Homicide is the leading cause of death among black youth. Overall, blacks account for one-third of all arrests and one-half of all incarcerations in the United States. About one-fifth of all 16- to 34-year-old black males are under justice system supervision. One-half of all black male school dropouts under age 25, and three-quarters of the dropouts who are between the ages of 25 and 34, are under justice system supervision. Three-quarters of all black prison inmates have less than 12 years of schooling.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings These facts confirm that delinquency, crime, and contacts with the juvenile and criminal justice systems are massive risk factors in the lives of poorly educated and economically disadvantaged black youth. Self-report studies confirm that black adolescents are far more likely to be involved in serious youth crime, particularly violent offenses involving theft (Hindelang et al., 1981; see also Elliot and Ageton, 1980). Research among prison inmates, most of whose past criminal involvement dates from their youth, reveals parallel racial differences (Petersilia, 1985). Scholarly efforts to explain these facts have focused on two possibilities. First, race-linked patterns of discrimination, segregation, and concentrated poverty may produce pervasive family and community disadvantages, as well as educational and employment difficulties, that in turn cause high levels of delinquent and criminal behavior among young minority males. Second is the possibility that, at the hands of the juvenile and criminal justice systems, young black males are victims of prejudice and discrimination in the form of more frequent arrest, prosecution, and punishment for delinquent and criminal behavior. Both possibilities are plausible, and together they have produced an additional important problem: a legacy of suspicion and distrust of the justice system. Some of this suspicion and distrust derives from the historical experience of slavery, lynching, and the discriminatory use of the death penalty by white juries (Sellin, 1935; Wolfgang and Riedel, 1973). It also reflects patterns of law enforcement following Reconstruction, extending well into this century, in which the harsher punishment of blacks for crimes against whites legally perpetuated a caste system born in slavery (Sellin, 1976). Overall arrest rates increased markedly throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and continue at high levels into the 1990s. One researcher has calculated that more than half of the increase in crime in 12 of the largest U.S. cities was linked to a rise in the proportion of blacks living in those cities (Chilton, 1986). Street crime and victimization are increasingly concentrated in urban "underclass" neighborhoods, in large part because of the concentration of poverty and joblessness in these predominantly poor and minority neighborhoods (see Chapter 4; Wilson, 1987). In a penetrating analysis of "American apartheid," Douglas Massey (1990) argues that racial segregation was the key factor responsible for the social transformation of many black communities in the 1970s. Using experimental simulations and regression models based on census tracts, Massey shows how a pernicious interaction between

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings rising poverty rates and high levels of segregation created a population often identified as the "underclass," transforming low-income communities into places where welfare-dependent, female-headed families are the norm. When this occurs, patterns of formal and informal community control may be undermined, in turn producing high rates of crime and related problems. Racial segregation and related forms of discrimination may also find expression in forms of "diffuse aggression" and "hostility." Blau and Blau (1982:119) tested this thesis in a landmark study of violent crime in 125 of America's largest metropolitan areas. They began with the premise that "pronounced ethnic inequity in resources implies that there are great riches within view but not within reach of many people destined to live in poverty." They hypothesize that the result is "resentment, frustration, hopelessness, and alienation," producing a "sense of injustice, discontent, and distrust.'' This and subsequent research (Messner, 1989) reveals that while inequality generally promotes criminal violence, racial inequities are especially productive of such violence. Ethnographic studies are especially persuasive in describing the ways in which concentrated poverty affects crime rates in minority neighborhoods (Hagedorn, 1988; Anderson, 1991; Sullivan, 1989; Lehmann, 1991; Sanchez-Jankowski, 1992). Recent accounts emphasize the growth of the underground drug economy focused around gangs, which substitutes for and competes with the legitimate labor market in many minority low-income communities. Anderson writes (1991:244): For many young men the drug economy is an employment agency superimposed on the existing gang network. Young men who 'grew up' in the gang, but now are without clear opportunities, easily become involved; they fit themselves into its structure, manning its drug houses and selling drugs on the street corners. These descriptions also depict the danger, anger, risks, and strains of poverty and crime in poor urban areas. For example, in There Are No Children Here, Kotlowitz (1991) follows the early teenage years of brothers Pharoah and Lafeyette Rivers, who live in a Chicago housing project where the prospects for escaping poverty and crime seem remote. The younger brother poignantly confides, "I worry about dying, dying at a young age, while you're little." Surveys indicate that parents in these neighborhoods share the same fears as their children (National Commission on Children, 1991). At the aggregate level, it is difficult to fully disentangle the factors linking concentrated poverty and violence. Recent epidemiological

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings studies indicate that, at higher socioeconomic levels, blacks and whites experience similarly low rates of homicide; only in census tracts with high concentrations of poor families do blacks have higher levels of homicide victimization. Indeed, data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that personal and neighborhood income are the strongest predictors of violent crime (see Lowry et al., 1988; Centerwall, 1984; Munford et al., 1976; Spivak et al., 1988). One analysis of 21 macrolevel studies found a cluster of factors that have a clear and pervasive causal influence, including median income, percent of families below the poverty line, an index of income inequality, the percentage of black population, and the percentage of single-parent families. These factors could not be fully separated into more specific causes (Land et al., 1990). However, a later analysis argued convincingly that aggregate lagged rates of unemployment have specifiable effects on property crime (Land et al., 1991). Joblessness and other factors are also implicated in the causal mechanisms that link concentrated poverty and family disruption to crime among young minority citizens. A study of race-specific rates of robbery and homicide in over 150 U.S. cities suggests a link between the scarcity of employed black men, the prevalence of families headed by women, and increased rates of black murder and robbery, especially among juveniles (Sampson, 1987; see also Matsueda and Heimer, 1987). LAW ENFORCEMENT AND NEIGHBORHOODS The lack of confidence in the ability of the juvenile and criminal justice systems to respond effectively to crime in minority urban communities presents a major public policy problem. Although these systems may have the ability to protect citizens in white communities and redirect adolescents who are from advantaged backgrounds, it is widely believed that the systems are far less effective in ghetto communities and with the ghetto youth who disproportionately are swept into the criminal justice system. In this view, the justice system is a source of new risks for urban minority youth—a view that is reinforced by research on the policing, prosecution, and punishment of blacks in both middle-and low-income neighborhoods. Police work has changed dramatically over the past century, and much of this change has aimed to make the police officers more professional and efficient in their handling of youth as well as adults. It is useful to keep in mind that the police are a relatively modern invention, going back little more than a century

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings in most American cities. In the early part of this century, police officers in most American cities were relatively uneducated recruits from the local neighborhood who retained strong neighborhood ties, in part by patrolling the community on foot or by horse. Today the police are more often well-educated, highly trained outsiders who are encouraged to limit compromising aspects of local ties and who patrol the community from radio-dispatched cruisers that roam well beyond local neighborhood boundaries (although this approach is increasingly questioned). These changes have had a substantial impact on the policing of youth, in part because of the high degree of discretion given by law to the police for handling juveniles. A classic study by James Q. Wilson (1968) of the policing of juveniles describes these polar styles of policing as reflecting "fraternal" and "professional" departments. Both kinds still exist, and new efforts are being made to reestablish "community policing," but the professional type of department in large part displaced its more fraternal predecessors and is now the predominant type. One of the consequences has been a change in patterns of enforcement: officers in a professional department arrest a larger share of the juvenile suspects they encounter. When Wilson studied the impact of this difference on minority youth suspects, he found that the professional department was more even-handed in its arrest practices, but at the cost of arresting more minority youth overall. There is also much evidence that the police find the attitudes and behaviors of ghetto youth hostile and threatening, which further increases police use of harassment, brutality, and arrest in ghetto settings. The results include increasing levels of negative contact between ghetto youth and the police, with negative consequences for police-community relations and for the affected youth. There are many plausible reasons for police perceptions of hostility by minority youths. The danger of violence in policing leads the police to treat large parts of the public as "symbolic assailants" (Skolnick, 1966), and young minority males are especially prone to this kind of stereotyped treatment. More than 20 years ago, a study in three of the largest U.S. cities reported that a majority of the police expressed "anti-Black" attitudes (Black and Reiss, 1967). And a common tactic in police-citizen encounters is to "take charge" and "freeze" situations through verbal and physical expressions of authority (see Reiss and Bordua, 1967). These factors tend to make police-suspect encounters emotionally charged and confrontational, especially in encounters with minority youth,

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings thereby increasing the risks of brutality and indiscretion. There is no reason to believe that any of these factors has changed significantly in the high-crime inner cities of the 1990s. A classic study of such encounters suggests that adolescents who do not display respect toward officers are most likely to be arrested (Piliavin and Briar, 1964). The demeanor of juveniles constitutes a basic set of cues that the police use in making arrest decisions in juvenile cases. This study found that, other than having a prior record, the juvenile's general demeanor, or "contriteness," was the most crucial determinant of decisions both on the street (i.e., whether to take the juvenile in) and in the station (i.e., whether to release or detain). A number of studies have gone on to demonstrate that the demeanor of minority youth accounts for at least part of their higher risk of arrest (Ferdinand and Luchterhand, 1970; Black, 1970). One of the most useful of these studies suggests that policing is characterized by a normative expectation that requires that the police receive more deference than they give, so that (for example) a policeman or policewoman will expect to be addressed as "officer," while citizens in general and youths in particular are addressed by given names (Sykes and Clark, 1975). The "asymmetrical status norm" exists in part because the police represent the authority of the law and probably also because officers are usually older and of higher occupational status than the suspects they encounter. When minority youth are involved, their refusal to express deference may be viewed by the officer as a refusal to acknowledge assumed social obligations of all citizens and the officer's symbolic authority. Such encounters often lead to more punitive treatment of minorities. Status-linked expectations may also be a problem across genders. While it is sometimes thought that female delinquents benefit from "chivalrous coddling" by the police, recent studies suggest that "paternalistic punitiveness" may often be the more pressing problem (McEachern and Bauzer, 1967; Krohn et al., 1983). Research by Visher (1983:6) suggests: … when law enforcement officials (e.g., police, prosecutors, judges), most of whom are male, interact with female violators, the encounter is transformed into an exchange between a man and a woman. In this situation, appropriate gender behaviors and expectations may become more salient than strictly legal factors in the official sanctioning of female offenders. Indeed, if women fail to conform to traditional female roles, then the assumed bargain is broken and chivalrous treatment is not extended.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Abandonment of chivalry may have especially serious implications in contacts with young minority women. Female adolescents still appear to be incarcerated for less serious offenses than their male counterparts, and young black women specifically are at risk of being treated more severely than young white women (Chesney-Lind, 1987; Datesman and Scarpetti, 1977; Pawlak, 1977; Visher, 1983). "The latter may reflect the dual impact of racism and sexism," according to one study, "or it may be that Black female arrestees and defendants are less likely than their White counterparts to exhibit submissiveness and other traditionally defined 'feminine' demeanors" (Horowitz and Pottieger, 1991:76). This element of distrust and hostility characterizes the interactions of many minority accused (male as well as female) with justice system personnel. None of this explanatory analysis denies the significance of "strictly legal" variables, such as seriousness of offense and prior record, in determining police decisions. Nonetheless, a study of 742 suspect encounters with police in 24 U.S. cities found that antagonistic suspects are much more likely to be taken into custody than suspects who display deference, that black suspects are more likely to be arrested than whites, and that part of this race effect can be explained by the more hostile or antagonistic demeanor of black suspects (Smith, 1986). Antagonism is a thread that runs through a range of contacts of minority citizens in general—and minority youth in particular—with the criminal justice system, ultimately adding to the risks faced by this group. Anderson's (1991) recent ethnographic description of the precarious position of young black males on the streets of a northeastern U.S. low-income community raises a serious dilemma in contemporary policing of minority neighborhoods. He notes that (Anderson, 1991:195): "In trying to do their job, the police appear to engage in an informal policy of monitoring young Black men as a means of controlling crime, and often they go beyond the bounds of duty." As a result (Anderson, 1991:195-196): Many youths … have reason to fear … mistaken identity or harassment, since they might be jailed, if only for a short time. … When law-abiding Blacks are ensnared by the criminal justice system, the scenario may proceed as follows. A young man is arbitrarily stopped by the police and questioned. If he cannot effectively negotiate with the officer(s), he may be accused of a crime and arrested. To resolve this situation he needs financial resources, money for an attorney, which often happens, he is left to a public defender who may be more interested in going along with the court system than in fighting for a poor Black person. Without legal support, he may well wind up "doing time" even if he is innocent of

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings the charges brought against him. The next time he is stopped for questioning he will have a record, which will make detention all the more likely. Against this background, Anderson reasons that it is not surprising that many black youth develop an "attitude" toward the police. This picture contrasts sharply with Sullivan's (1989:196) finding in the white neighborhood he studied: [Youths] had resources for dealing with the criminal justice system that were not available to the youths in the other neighborhoods; when they did get caught, they sought to manipulate the system—and were often successful in doing so—by means of money and personal connections. Finally, the geographical distribution of police work underlines the links between racial discrimination and the concentration of poverty and crime in poor minority neighborhoods. It has been argued that densely populated settings increase anonymity and freedom from surveillance and control (Thrasher, 1927; Newman, 1972). However, others argue that the press of people in high-density areas imposes on residents a unique kind of community organization characterized by a high level of mutual surveillance (see Jacobs, 1961; Plant, 1957). This surveillance restricts residents' privacy and makes activities, both legal and illegal, more frequently "public" (Stinchcombe, 1963). A result is that the same act detected, reported, and recorded as illegal in a densely populated minority community may go undetected, unreported, and unrecorded in more spaciously populated middle-and upper-class settings. This is one way in which some social and geographical areas are more "offensible" than others. The term "offensible space" refers to areas in which the police perceive a disproportionate incidence of deviant behavior and so take some initiative in processing offenders (Hagan et al., 1978). In some cases, citizens have provided intelligence about patterned juvenile behavior, such as recurrent vandalism or rowdiness on their block, leading police to increase surveillance in an attempt to "clean up" the area (Black, 1970). In other cases, however, the police themselves designate certain neighborhoods, based on a set of internalized expectations derived from past experience. Unfortunately, the result can be a process of "ecological contamination" by which all residents of designated neighborhoods are viewed as potential suspects or threats (Smith, 1986). In other words, offensible space or ecological contamination involves areas where prior police conceptions encourage an aggressive and stereotyped pattern of police work. A study designed to assess the impact of police conceptions of

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings offensible space was undertaken in a Canadian community called Westport (Hagan et al., 1978). Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative techniques, the study showed that a neighborhood's delinquency rates can be better explained by police preconceptions or by citizen complaints than by aggregated self-reported measures of delinquent behavior. That is, the contamination effect associated with offensible space results in the overpolicing of youth and adults from stigmatized areas. Contextual analysis of data from the Seattle Youth Study also reveals a strong inverse effect of neighborhood socioeconomic status (SES) on police processing of juveniles, independent of self-reported delinquent behavior. The author concludes (Sampson, 1986:884): "… the influence of SES on police contacts is contextual in nature, and stems from an ecological bias with regard to police control, as opposed to a single individual-level bias against the poor" (see also Smith, 1986). Nevertheless, this kind of community-based discrimination is felt by individuals: it lowers the threshold (or raises the risk) that poor and minorities will enter the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and it is a part of the experience that builds resentment and distrust among these populations. THE JUSTICE SYSTEMS Processing Once caught up in the juvenile or criminal justice system, the risks for minority youth increase. Even prolonged contact with the system during pretrial phases can be detrimental, so much so that one researcher argues that "the process is the punishment" (Feeley, 1979). It is hardly surprising that minority juvenile defendants can be uncooperative during the process of prosecution. The pervasive concern at the prosecution stage is with charge and plea bargaining, which has been defined as "the exchange of official concessions for the act of self-conviction" (Alschuler, 1979:213). This bargaining can be explicit or implicit, but it is usually assumed that a high percentage of guilty pleas in a court is a sure sign of plea bargaining (Haumann, 1975). Extensive plea bargaining is apparently a relatively modern development, taking center stage in the courts at about the middle of this century (compare Moley, 1928; Friedman, 1979). Prosecutors are known to regularly "overcharge" to strengthen their bargaining positions (Alschuler, 1968).

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings crime apparently involves not only judges, but also prosecutors, probation officers, and parole boards. For example, in 1974, parole boards returned 6 percent of their cases to prison; in 1986, they returned 14 percent; courts and parole boards together returned nearly a quarter of this population to prison in 1986. Because crime is concentrated so heavily among youth and minorities, the increased use of imprisonment falls heavily on young minority males. Early studies of race and sentencing conducted in the 1940s and 1950s often concluded that racial discrimination occurred. A number of efforts have been made over the past several decades to reform sentencing practices in ways that would make discrimination less common. These include rules and guidelines for plea bargaining, mandatory minimum sentences, statutorily determined sentences, presumptive or prescriptive sentencing guidelines, and the establishment of sentencing councils. A number of recent contextual analyses indicate that ethnic-and race-based sentencing is still apparent for some types of offenders, at some decision points, and in some times and places (Zatz, 1987; Myers and Talarico, 1987; Peterson and Hagan, 1984; Hagan and Bumiller, 1983). However, few criminologists would argue that the current gap between black and white levels of imprisonment is mainly due to discrimination in sentencing or in any of the other decision-making processes in the criminal justice system. The higher rate of crime among blacks explains much of the differential (Jaynes and Williams, 1989). Yet the reforms in sentencing practice have also often made imprisonment more likely for young minority males, in much the same way that the professionalization of police work has increased their risk of arrest. That is, more young minority males were imprisoned through an even-handedness that includes increased severity for whites as well as nonwhites. The even-handedness has also extended to women, with the result that judges have sentenced women to prison in record numbers in recent years (Chesney-Lind, 1987). The number of girls and women arrested increased by 203 percent between 1974 and 1984, and the number of women in prison jumped 258 percent (compared with a male increase of 199 percent). Again, even if white and minority women are treated equally, the biggest effect will be felt by young minority women because they encounter the system in disproportionate numbers.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Consequences Enthusiasm for aggressive policing, prosecution, and punishment of a large number of youthful and highly active offenders is based on the policy of selective incapacitation, a strategy that usually focuses on ''career criminals," mainly, repeat offenders. However, a large body of research on selective incapacitation suggests that it would not reduce crime significantly without very substantial increases in prison populations because the capacity to predict criminal careers is limited, there is relatively little specialization by type of crime, most criminal careers are brief, and new offenders quickly replace those who desist (Blumstein et al., 1986). This assessment is supported by the increasing level of violent crime that has occurred during a time of record use of imprisonment. It is similarly unclear that institutionalization and related repressive measures have deterrent effects on young people. Attempts to assess effects of delinquency prevention programs have produced distinctively mixed results (compare Martinson, 1974; Whitehead and Lab, 1989). However, the most systematic of these reviews found that deterrence-based programs, including "shock incarceration" and the "scared straight" program that received much publicity a few years ago, produce more, not less, recidivism when they are systematically assessed in control group designs (Lipsey, 1991). It is uncertain exactly how these negative effects occur. For many years the concern was that institutionalization resulted in "prisonization," a process by which new detainees take on the attitudes and values of older inmates. However, there now is more evidence that by the time they encounter the justice system, ghetto youth have already assumed self-concepts, attitudes, and values that make further impact, beyond perpetuation, unlikely (see Ageton and Elliott, 1974; Harris, 1976). This should not be surprising, given the hostile attitudes toward the justice system in the community. It might also help explain the weak effects of delinquency prevention and other programs for minority youth. Meanwhile, prison experiences may actually solidify the networks of association that make continued involvement in crime likely. For example, racial associations and conflicts are imported to prisons from home communities, perpetuating gang and sexual violence (Lockwood, 1980). These continuing associations may also help inmates maintain connections with illegal markets that

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings persist in prison (see Jacobs, 1977; Moore et al., 1978; Moore, 1991). Underground markets are alternatives to conventional employment, and for many ghetto youth illegal markets offer culturally accepted lines of economic opportunity (Sullivan, 1989), sometimes replacing or competing with legitimate labor markets (Freeman, 1991). Sullivan (1989) notes that youth crime provides otherwise unavailable funds for a short period but further separates inner-city youths from the labor market and stigmatizes them in their later careers. There is mounting evidence of more general detrimental consequences of the processing and punishment of youthful offenders, especially in terms of adult economic outcomes, for those who are otherwise disadvantaged. Working-class males with conviction records are uniquely disadvantaged in finding employment, and even for adolescents who are arrested but do not go to jail, the experience of arrest and conviction can have long-term, even intergenerational repercussions in terms of occupational as well as criminal careers (Schwartz and Skolnick, 1964; Hagan and Palloni, 1990; Hagan, 1991). A criminal arrest record has negative effects on employment as much as 8 years later, in part because employers are reluctant to employ ex-offenders (Freeman, 1991; Grogger, 1991). Incarceration, or even prolonged processing through the criminal justice system, can also date job skills and contact networks for employment. The attitudes and interests that signal employability to prospective employers may be undermined and otherwise discouraged, while attitudes of distrust and hostility are perpetuated. Factory jobs in the manufacturing sector once allowed for a toughness of demeanor among young minority males, but such attitudes are disabling in the new service economy jobs (Anderson, 1991). Juvenile and criminal justice system contact seems to perpetuate those attitudes. A number of studies have established that former delinquents also experience disproportionate problems in securing and holding jobs (Robins, 1966; Sampson and Laub, 1990; Glueck and Glueck, 1950). A recent 13-year study also found that youth from working-class families who identify with a subculture of delinquency are distinctly disadvantaged in terms of occupational outcomes when compared with middle-and upper-class youth who also were involved in that subculture (Hagan, 1991). This study provides evidence that contact with the justice system is one way in which the low social and cultural capital of ghetto youths is further diminished.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings The research reviewed by the panel suggests that the U.S. justice system is overburdened, and that its emphasis on punishment is expensive, unproductive of the desired gains in reducing levels of crime, and probably productive of increased hostility toward itself in ghetto communities. Studies suggest that Americans favor increasing the use of alternatives to incarceration, except for violent offenders (Doble, 1987). The diversion of status offenders from the juvenile justice system is an encouraging step along these lines, but simply ignoring these troubled youth is not a promising policy alternative. The most effective treatment programs are applied outside of public facilities, custodial institutions, and the juvenile justice system (Lipsey, 1991). They also tend to involve nonpunitive behavior and skill-orientation, multimodal treatments that offer alternatives to the more socially and fiscally costly mechanisms of justice system involvement. CONCLUSIONS The high levels of crime among black American youth are causally associated with the concentration of poverty in urban neighborhoods. Patterns of ethnic, especially racial, segregation have created the conditions in which economic downturns and concentrated poverty have torn the social fabric of black American communities. Social disruption has aggravated stereotypes of ghetto settings and has led to overpolicing and other kinds of discriminatory treatment that generate diffuse feelings of injustice, hostility, and aggression (Blau and Blau, 1982). Hostility is itself disorganizing and disruptive in ways that make crime and violence common. The growing concentration of poverty in inner-city neighborhoods (see Chapter 4) has coincided with the entry into the crime-prone years of adolescence and early adulthood of the large postwar birth cohorts and—more recently—their children. The aging of these cohorts might have been expected to produce some relief in the following years, but after some positive signs in the early 1980s, rates of criminal violence have moved upward again. The decline of the rehabilitative ideal, a new emphasis on deterrence and selective incapacitation, and escalating rates of imprisonment have not altered these trends. Ghetto youth, especially minority males, have continued to experience high levels of crime as well as punishment. The large-scale use of arrest and imprisonment has both fiscal and other implications. Race-linked inequalities further aggravate

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings problems in an array of institutional settings in which blacks and whites meet. Because community-level policing practices display discriminatory patterns, and because the justice system is nevertheless expected to embody high standards of fairness, justice system interactions have become particularly difficult forums for black-white relations. A result is that many ghetto youth grow up in environments that, in addition to other difficulties, are characterized by hostility toward the justice system. REFERENCES Ageton, S., and D. Elliott 1974 The effects of legal processing on self-concept. Social Problems 22:87-100. Alschuler, A. 1968 The prosecutor's role in plea bargaining. University of Chicago Law Review 36:50-112. 1979 Plea bargaining and its history. Law & Society Review 13:211-245. Anderson, E. 1991 Streetwise: Race, Class and Change in an Urban Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Annie E. Casey Foundation 1993 Kids Count Data Book. Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Social Policy. Black, D. 1970 Police control of juveniles. American Sociological Review 35:63-77. 1983 Crime as social control. American Sociological Review 48:34-45. Black, D., and A.J. Reiss 1967 Patterns of behavior in police-citizen transactions. In Studies in Crime and Law Enforcement in Major Metropolitan Areas, Field Surveys III, Vol. 2. President's Commission on Law Enforcement in Major Metropolitan Areas . Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Blau, J., and P. Blau 1982 The cost of inequality: metropolitan structure and violent crime. American Sociological Review 47:114-128. Blumstein, A., J. Cohen, J.A. Roth, and C.A. Visher, eds. 1986 Criminal Careers and Career Criminals, Vol. 1. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Bureau of Justice Statistics 1985 The Prevalence of Imprisonment. U.S. Department of Justice Special Report. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. Centerwall, B. 1984 Race, socioeconomic status and domestic homicide, Atlanta, 1971-72. American Journal of Public Health 74:813-815. Chesney-Lind, M. 1987 Female offenders: paternalism reexamined. In L. Crites and W. Hepperle, eds., Women, the Courts and Equality. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications. Chilton, R. 1986 Age, sex, race and arrest trends for twelve of the nation's largest central

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings cities. In J. Byrne and R. Sampson, eds., The Social Ecology of Crime: Theory, Research and Public Policy. New York: Springer-Verlag. Chilton, R., and J. Galvin 1985 Race, crime and criminal justice. Crime and Delinquency 31:3-14. Cicourel, A. 1968 The Social Organization of Juvenile Justice. New York: Wiley. Datesman, S., and F. Scarpetti 1977 Unequal protection for males and females in the juvenile court. In T.N. Ferdinand, ed., Juvenile Delinquency: Little Brother Grows Up. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications. Doble, J. 1987 Crime and Punishment: The Public's View. New York: Public Agenda Foundation. Elliot, D. and S. Ageton 1980 Reconciling race and class differences in self-report and official estimates of delinquency. American Sociological Review 45:95-110. Fagan, J., F. Piper, and Y. Cheng 1987 Contributions of victimization to delinquency in inner cities. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 78:586-613. Feeley, M. 1979 The Process Is the Punishment. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Ferdinand, T., and E. Luchterhand 1970 Inner-city youth, the police, the juvenile court and justice. Social Problems 17:510-527. Freeman, R. 1991 Crime and the Economic Status of Disadvantaged Young Men. Paper presented to the Conference on Urban Labor Markets and Labor Mobility, Warrenton, Va. Friedman, L. 1979 Plea bargaining in historical perspective. Law & Society Review 13(2):247-259. Glueck, S., and E. Glueck 1950 Unraveling Juvenile Delinquency. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University. Gottfredson, M., and M. Hindelang 1981 Sociological aspects of criminal victimization. Annual Review of Sociology 7:107-128. Grogger, J. 1991 The Effect of Arrest on the Employment Outcomes of Young Men. Unpublished manuscript, University of California, Santa Barbara. Hagan, J. 1991 Destiny and drift: subcultural preferences, status attainments, and the risks and rewards of youth. American Sociological Review 56:567-582. Hagan, J., and C. Albonetti 1982 Race, class and the perception of criminal injustice in America. American Journal of Sociology 88:329-355. Hagan, J., and K. Bumiller 1983 Making sense of sentencing: a review and critique of sentencing research. In A. Blumstein, J. Cohen, S.E. Martin, and M.H. Toury, eds., Research on Sentencing: The Search for Reform, Vol. II. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Hagan, J., and A. Palloni 1990 The social reproduction of a criminal class in working class London, circa 1950-80. American Journal of Sociology 96:265-299. Hagan, J., A.R. Gillis, and J. Chan 1978 Explaining official delinquency: a spatial study of class, conflict and control. Sociological Quarterly 19:386-398. Hagedorn, J. 1988 People and Folks: Gangs, Crime and the Underclass in a Rustbelt City. Chicago: Lake View Press. Harris, A. 1976 Race, commitment to deviance and spoiled identity. American Sociological Review 41:432-442. 1991 Race, class and crime. In J. Sheley, ed., Criminology. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth. Hawkins, D. 1986 Homicide Among Black Americans. Lanham, Md.: University Press of America. Haumann, M. 1975 A note on plea bargaining and case pressure. Law & Society Review 9:515-528. Hindelang, M., T. Hirschi, and J. Weis 1981 Measuring Delinquency. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications. Horowitz, R., and A.E. Pottieger 1991 Gender bias in juvenile justice handling of seriously crime-involved youth. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 28(1):75-100. Jacobs, J. 1961 The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Random House. 1977 Statesville: The Penitentiary in Mass Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Jaynes, G.D., and R.M. Williams, Jr., eds. 1989 A Common Destiny: Blacks and American Society. Committee on the Status of black Americans, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press. Kotlowitz, A. 1991 There Are No Children Here. New York: Doubleday. Krisberg, B., I.M. Schwartz, P. Litsky, and J. Austin 1986 The watershed of juvenile justice reform. Crime and Delinquency 32:5-38. Krohn, M., J. Curry, and S. Nelson-Kilger 1983 Is chivalry dead? An analysis of changes in police dispositions of males and females. Criminology 21:417-437. LaFree, G. 1980 The effect of sexual stratification by race on official reactions to rape. American Sociological Review 45:842-854. Land, K., P. McCall, and L. Cohen 1990 Structural co-variates of homicide rates: are there any invariances across time and space? American Journal of Sociology 95:922-963. Land, K., D. Cantor, and S. Russell 1991 Unemployment and Crime Rate Fluctuations in the Post-World War II

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings United States: Statistical Time Series Properties and Alternative Models. Paper presented to the American Society of Criminology Meetings, San Francisco. Langan, P. 1991 America's soaring prison population. Science 251:1568-1573. Lehmann, N. 1991 The Promised Land: The Great Black Migration and How It Changed America. New York: Alfred Knopf. Lipsey, M.W. 1991 Juvenile delinquency treatment: a meta-analytic inquiry into the variability of effects. In Meta-Analysis for Explanation: A Casebook. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Lockwood, D. 1980 Prison Sexual Violence. New York: Elsevier. Lowry, P., S. Hassig, R. Gunn, and J. Mathison 1988 Homicide victims in New Orleans: recent trends. American Journal of Epidemiology 128:1130-1136. Martinson, R. 1974 What works? Questions and answers about prison reform. The Public Interest 35:22-54. Massey, D. 1990 American apartheid: segregation and the making of the under-class. American Journal of Sociology 96:329-357. Mather, L. 1979 Plea Bargaining or Trial? The Process of Criminal Case Disposition. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books. Matsueda, R., and K. Heimer 1987 Race, family structure and delinquency: a test of differential association and social control theories. American Sociological Review 52:826-840. McEachern, A.W., and R. Bauzer 1967 Factors related to disposition in juvenile police contacts. In M. Klein, ed., Juvenile Gangs in Context: Research, Theory and Action. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall. Messner, S.F. 1989 Economic discrimination and societal homicide rates: further evidence on the cost of inequality. American Sociological Review 54(4):597-611. Miller, H.S., W.F. McDonald, and J.A. Cramer 1978 Plea Bargaining in the United States. Washington, D.C.: National Institute of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration. Moley, R. 1928 The vanishing jury. Southern California Law Review 2:97. Moore, J., with R. Garcia, C. Garcia, L. Cerda, and F. Valencia 1978 Homeboys: Gangs, Drugs and Prison in the Barrios of Los Angeles. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Moore, J.W. 1991 Going Down to the Barrio: Homeboys and Homegirls in Change. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Munford, R.S., R. Kazev, R. Feldman, and R. Stivers 1976 Homicide trends in Atlanta. Criminology 14:213-221.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Myers, M., and J. Hagan 1979 Private and public trouble: prosecutors and the allocation of court resources. Social Problems 26:439-451. Myers, M., and S. Talarico 1987 The Social Contexts of Criminal Sentencing. New York: Springer-Verlag. National Commission on Children 1991 Beyond Rhetoric: A New American Agenda for Children and Families. Washington, D.C.: National Commission on Children. Newman, D. 1966 Conviction: The Determination of Guilt or Innocence Without Trial. Boston: American Bar Association. Newman, O. 1972 Defensible Space. New York: Macmillan. Pawlak, E. 1977 Differential selection of juveniles for detention. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 14:152-165. Petersilia, J. 1983 Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System. Santa Monica, Calif.: The RAND Corporation. 1985 Racial disparities in the criminal justice system: a summary. Crime & Delinquency 31:15-34. Peterson, R., and J. Hagan 1984 Changing conceptions of race: the sentencing of drug offenders in an American city, 1963-76. American Sociological Review 49:56-71. Piliavin, I., and S. Briar 1964 Police encounters with juveniles. American Journal of Sociology 70:206-214. Plant, J.S. 1957 The personality of an urban area. In P. Halt and A. Reiss, eds., Cities and Society. New York: The Free Press. Reiss, A., and D. Bordua 1967 Organization and environment: a perspective on the municipal police. In D. Bordua, ed., The Police: Six Sociological Essays. New York: Wiley. Robins, L. 1966 Deviant Children Grown Up. Baltimore, Md.: Williams and Wilkins. Rose, H., and P. McClain 1990 Race, Place and Risk: Black Homicide in Urban America. Albany, N.Y.: SUNY Press. Russell, W.F. 1966 Go Up to Glory. New York: Coward-McCann. Sampson, R. 1986 Effects of socioeconomic context on official reaction to juvenile delinquency . American Sociological Review 51:876-885. 1987 Urban black violence: the effect of male joblessness and family disruption. American Journal of Sociology 93:348-382. Sampson, R., and J. Laub 1990 Stability and change in crime and deviance over the life course: the salience of adult social bonds. American Sociological Review 55:609-627. Sanchez-Jankowski, M. 1992 Islands in the Stream. Los Angeles: University of California Press.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Schwartz, R., and J. Skolnick 1964 Two studies of legal stigma. In H. Becker, ed., The Other Side: Perspectives on Deviance. New York: The Free Press. Sellin, T. 1935 Race prejudice in the administration of justice. American Journal of Sociology 41:312-317. 1976 Slavery and the Penal System. New York: Elsevier. Skolnick, J. 1966 Justice Without Trial. New York: Wiley. Smith, D. 1986 The neighborhood context of police behavior. In A.J. Reiss and M. Tonry, eds., Communities and Cities. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Spivak, H., D. Prothrow-Stith, and A.J. Hausman 1988 Dying is no accident: adolescents, violence and intentional injury. Pediatric Clinics of North America 35(6):1339-1347. Stafford, M. 1984 Gang delinquency. In R. Meier, ed., Major Forms of Crime. Beverly Hills, Calif.: Sage Publications. Stinchcombe, A. 1963 Institutions of privacy in the determination of police administration practice. American Journal of Sociology 69:150-160. Sudnow, D. 1965 Normal crimes: sociological features of the penal code in a public defender office. Social Problems (Winter):255-276. Sullivan, M. 1989 Getting Paid: Youth Crime and Work in the Inner City. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. Sykes, G., and J. Clark 1975 A theory of deference exchange in police civilian encounters. American Journal of Sociology 81:584-600. Thrasher, F. 1927 The Gang. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Uhlman, T. 1979 Racial Justice: Black Judges and Defendants in an Urban Trial Court. Lexington, Mass.: Lexington Books. Visher, C. 1983 Gender, police arrest decisions, and notions of chivalry. Criminology 21:5-28. Welch, S., J. Gruhl, and C. Spohn 1985 Convicting and sentencing differences among black, Hispanics, and white males in six localities. Justice Quarterly 2:67-80. Whitehead, J.T., and S.P. Lab 1989 A meta-analysis of juvenile correctional treatment. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 26(3):276-295. Wilson, J.Q. 1968 Varieties of Police Behavior. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Wilson, W.J. 1987 The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

OCR for page 151
Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Wolfgang, M., and M. Riedel 1973 Race, judicial discretion, and the death penalty. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 407:119. Zatz, M. 1985 Pleas, priors and prison: racial/ethnic differences in sentencing. Social Science Research 14:169-193. 1987 The changing forms of racial/ethnic biases in sentencing. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 24:69-92. Zatz, M., and A. Lizotte 1985 The timing of court processing: toward linking theory and method. Criminology 23:313-335.