TABLE 5-6 Race Distribution (Weighted Percentages) by Decade for Those Under 18 and Those Age 18 and Older in San Quentin and Folsom Prisons

Race

1870s

1880s

1890s

1900s

1910s

1920s

1930s

All Decades

Under age 18

White

57.0

74.8

93.2

73.2

100.0

73.6

57.4

70.7

Black

0.0

7.6

3.4

11.1

0.0

9.9

0.0

5.1

Hispanic

15.5

7.1

3.4

6.5

0.0

16.5

42.6a

14.4

Chinese

24.4

8.1

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

7.2

Other Asian

0.0

2.4

0.0

4.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.0

Other

3.1

0.0

0.0

4.6

0.0

0.0

0.0

1.6

Total

45

39

28

16

2

7

5

142

18 and older

White

71.3

77.2

83.2

84.0

78.3

78.3

75.1

77.7

Black

1.5

2.5

3.9

4.9

5.2

7.6

8.9

6.1

Hispanic

8.8

8.4

7.0

7.6

13.6

10.6

11.1a

10.5

Chinese

16.1

10.3

4.7

1.5

0.5

1.1

1.2

3.2

Other Asian

0.2

0.1

0.3

0.8

1.2

1.5

3.4

1.5

Other

2.1

1.5

0.9

1.3

1.3

0.9

0.4

1.0

Total

950

949

960

968

985

979

974

6765

a Apart from the small number of observations in the sample of those under age 18, we cannot readily explain the disparity between Hispanic commitments under age 18 and 18 and older in the 1930s.

Source: Analysis by panel member Steven Schlossman.

1930s, the average sentence length for juveniles more than doubled to 8 years, more comparable to today's average.

CONCLUSIONS

The origin of the juvenile court reflects an abiding tension between safeguarding children and protecting society. This tension has been present historically and continues to be present today in the policy debates dealing with the juvenile justice system. The balance between rehabilitative goals and concerns about the best interests of the child, on one hand, and punishment, incapacitation, and protecting public safety, on the other, has shifted over time and differed significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Given the local nature of juvenile justice in the United States, there has never been a single dominant vision of how to deal with delinquent children in law or in practice. The delinquency jurisdiction of the



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