Minority vs. Majority

Abstract

The objective of this research paper was to evaluate the disparity between minority vs. majority youth involved with the juvenile justice system. The paper observes the influence of racial and/or ethical identity on youth delinquents by comparing the statistics between minority and majority juvenile delinquents to determine if there were differences in the types of criminal crimes committed, and the disposition received from the Franklin County Juvenile Court in Ohio.

The statistics used for this research paper was procured from the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, Division of Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch. The statistics consisted of 304 anonymous records for youth that had contact with the Franklin County Juvenile Court in Ohio. The statistics analyzed was for the years 2006 through 2008.

A Chi-square test of independence was used to compare groups and to determine if interactions were statistically significant. The Chi-square results of the research paper concluded that minority youths were somewhat more likely than majority youths to commit public order crimes and property crimes, based on the expected count and the observed count. Minority youths committed 13.3 more public order crimes than expected, and 5.4 more property crimes than expected. Of the total public order crimes, minority youth accounted for 67.2% as compared to 32.8% of majority youth. Of the total property offenses, minority youth accounted for 65.5% as compared to 34.5% of non-minority youth. The statistics also indicated that minority youth were less likely than majority youth to commit person crimes, based on the expected count and the observed count. However, although minority youth committed 16 fewer person crimes than expected, the ratio of person crimes when compared to majority youth was 55.9% to 44.1% respectively. In fact, for each type of offense committed, the ratio of minority juvenile delinquents to majority juvenile delinquents was higher.

Additionally, minority youths were more likely than majority youths to receive imprisonment and county supervision, based on the expected count and the observed count. Minority youths were confined 4.8 times more than expected, and received county supervision 11.3 times more than expected. Of the total number of youth who were confined, minority youth accounted for 80% as compared to 20% of majority youth. Of the total number of youth under county supervision, minority youth accounted for 73% compared to 27% of majority youth. Also, minority youth were less likely to receive sanctions and/or restitution, based on the expected count and the observed count. majority youth were given sanctions and allowed to make financial restitution 10.6 times more than expected, while minority youth were allowed the same disposition 10.6 times less than expected. These sanctions and restitution is comprised of completing community service, paying fees/fines, and taking part in the Juvenile Restitution Program.

Minority juvenile delinquents (youth under the age of 18) face major challenges with regard to fairness in the current justice system. Thus, the expected results of this research paper would be to reinforce the awareness of the need for fair and unbiased delivery of justice for juveniles. This research paper also provides suggestions for treatment and service delivery to juveniles to include referrals and counseling as opposed to imprisonment and other harsh penalties. This information can be used by social workers, educators, judges, prosecutors, service providers, and parents, to enable them to see the unfairness and work to eliminate the disparity in inequitable punishments that are handed down to youth.



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