Posted: November 27th, 2013
Disproportionate Minority Confinement
Disproportionate Minority Confinement
The criminal justice system is currently bedeviled with a very pertinent issue. The analysis of national data indicates an alarming documentation of partial representation of minority groups in the juvenile facilities within the entire nation. The criminal justice is entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring fairness and equality in the judicial and imprisonment processes. The federal states are responsible for probing whether race and ethnicity are factors that lead to disproportionate minority confinement. This is inclusive of the decisions to arrest, detain and the subsequent commitment to training school. Since it is evident that disproportionate minority confinement prevails in all the states comprising the United States of America, it is prudent to establish the underlying conditions in the effort of alleviating this issue in the near future (Shepherd, 1995).
Recent studies citing on the presence of disproportionate minority confinement in juvenile facilities indicate the emergence of a very controversial and pertinent issue. The researches indicate that there is differential application of procedures in the judicial system in the process of arrest through sentencing among the various races in the juvenile criminal justice system. Statistics indicate the black and brown youth usually receive more punitive treatments as they are taken through the juvenile and criminal justice systems. This is very disturbing issue that the judicial service is supposed to urgently address this issue. Every nation is supposed to be founded on the statues of equality and fairness. This means that the same measures and procedures are supposed to be applied on all irrespective of race, color or creed. However, some
States tend to go against this statute and thus exhibit disproportionate minority confinement.
This issue is further compounded by one of the major aims of centre on juvenile and criminal justice is to minimize the use of imprisonment and other confinements for the youth who engage in offenses that are non-violent and are not of any threat to the public safety. Although this is a very plausible move, the resultant effect of having the most violent offenders exclusively occupy the incarceration spaces tends to mitigate disproportionate minority confinement.
Disproportionate minority confinement is mitigated by the objective of the centre on juvenile and criminal justice in the following way: in the United States of America and the state of California in particular, there statistics indicate that the number of black youth arrested is three times that of their white counterparts. The arrests are higher for all offenses. In the case of violent felonies, the number of black youth arrested is ten times higher that of their white counterparts. In the case of murder offenses, the black youth arrest rate is seventeen times that of their white counterparts.
While the criminal statistics appear to be biased, the victim statistics reflect the same picture. Statistics indicate that the black youth are twenty one times more likely to be victims of murder than their white counterparts are. On the same aspect, the black youth are twenty eight times more likely to be victims of firearms assault, injury or death. This means that if the incarcerations and imprisonments are only restricted to the most violent criminal offenders the black minority youths are more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts are. This indicates that the goals of centre on juvenile and criminal justice and other criminal justice reforms mitigate disproportionate minority confinement (Males, 2008).
The issue of drug offenses is another that leads to disproportionate minority confinement. The issue of drugs leads to an increase in disproportionate minority confinement even though statistics indicate that illegal drug use is similar for both white youth and black youth. However, an inspection of the state of California’s arrest figures for drugs offenses for the year 2007. The statistics indicate striking difference in the number of black and white youth arrested for drug related offenses (Clayton, 1997).
The findings indicate that the white youth arrests for felony sales or production accounts for only twenty percent. This is a significant deviation in comparison to the thirty eight percent of black youth arrested for felony sale of drugs or its production. These states further advocate against the imprisonment of youth for misdemeanor drug possession. The centre on juvenile and criminal justice advocates for the investigation of the procedures used on drug arrests. This is particularly in San Francisco where the black youth are arrested in larger numbers than any other race. The black youth are also exposed to or pressed for condemnation reforms such as the establishment of proposition thirty-six that seeks to minimize the imprisonment of drug offenders.
One of the highly forwarded hypotheses on the reason for disproportionate minority confinement is the issue of single parenthood. This is particularly sporadic among youth who are living in households lead by single mothers. Research indicates that single parenthood is positively related with disproportionate minority confinement. This is further supported by the quantitative and quantitative research conducted on the aspect that highly suggests that indeed single parenthood is positively related to disproportionate minority confinement (Hess, 2009).
This is particularly evidenced among youth who are living with the mother only. In one of the counties where the study was conducted, an astonishing one hundred percent of the juveniles under the disproportionate minority confinement study came from single parent households. Minority groups are further likely to have single families than their white counterparts. This explains the disproportionate minority confinement where minority youths who are mostly from single families are more likely to be arrested and incarcerated than their white counterparts do.
It is not prudent for the state organs to mitigate disproportionate minority confinement by incarcerating more of the white majority white youths for misdemeanors. It is obvious that every one favors the idea of having fewer youth regardless of ethnicity or color in the prison system. Even though this is true, there needs to be reforms in the racial biases evidenced in the drug and gang offenses. This is to be entrenched into the criminal processes of apprehension, prosecution and sentencing stages. This is to ensure that the prison figures reflect the actual situation on the ground. With this respect, the percentages in the incarceration facilities are supposed to be in harmony with the statistics on the ground (Weaver, 2004).
In conclusion, we find that indeed disproportionate minority confinement prevails in the criminal justice system. This is particularly in the cities of California and San Francisco. Statistics indicate that black minorities especially the youth are more likely to be involved and incarcerated under criminal related activities. Disproportionate minority confinement is further enhanced by objectives and aims of organizations and institutions such as the centre on juvenile and criminal justice, which are mainly aimed at minimizing the use of imprisonment and other forms of incarcerations for the youth who engage in offenses that are non-violent and are not of any threat to the public safety.
Clayton, S. ( 1997). Juvenile drug arrests. Correction today, 59(1), 16.
Shepherd, K. B. (1995).Understanding disproportionate minority confinement. Corrections today, 57(3), 114.
Hess, K. M. (2009). Juvenile justice. New York: Cengage Learning.
Males, M. ( 2008). The Trouble with Disproportionate Minority Confinement. Public policy. Retrieved from http://www.cjcj.org/post/juvenile/justice/trouble/disproportionate/minority/confinement/0
Weaver, J. (2004). Disproportionate minority confinement: bureaucratic failure or institutional racism? North Carolina: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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