Joe Scoffer In the criminal Justice system Juveniles are looked at as a separate entity. Juveniles fall under different rules and guidelines when going through the criminal Justice system. Often police tend to differ minor criminal offenses to the parents which under represents the actual offenses committed by Juveniles. The Uniform Crime Report is a statistical report managed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It compiles information forwarded by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States. The Uniform Crime Report provides information regarding crimes committed by Juveniles. Juvenile crimes have shown a steady decrease in the past ten years with spikes of increase within certain demographics. Female Juveniles have created a phenomenon where they are representing a higher percentage of arrests that continues to increase year after year. Black Juveniles have also increased in arrests in certain crimes, usually more violent crimes than other races.
Understanding correlations in societal factors may help understand a possibly decrease the increase of offenses committed by females and black Juveniles. Decrease in Offenses Juvenile arrests in 2009 have shown a decrease in overall arrests. Arrests for 2009 have decreased 9% since the previous year and 17% when comparing from 2000 to 2009. This may be due to youth programs have a positive impact in Juvenile arrest or law enforcement applying spirit of the law rather than letter of the law when dealing with Juveniles.
The Uniform Crime Report is only able to give statistics on information reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The numbers represented might actually be higher if individuals fail to report crimes to law enforcement or if law enforcement decides to resolve issue with Juveniles without having to make an arrest. Although numbers show a decrease in overall arrests by juveniles and a steady decrease in the past three years the numbers show a spike of more than double when compared to the 1980 rate documented in the Uniform Crime Report.
In 1980 Juveniles arrested for simple assaults was under 300,000 and in 1994 raised above 700,000 showing a slight decrease in the past three years, but nowhere near the numbers of 1980. Drug offenses for Juveniles have been a roller coaster of high arrest rates followed by a sharp decrease than accelerating up. The 2009 rate is 81% higher than the 1990 rate possibly due to the acceptance of recreational drugs like marijuana and a United States President who smoked marijuana for many years.
This can influence a Juvenile in experimenting with narcotics and not having a social stigma of doing something terribly wrong. Minorities and Females According to Buccaneer, C. , & Adams, 8. (2012),” Of all Juvenile arrests for violent crimes in 2009, 47% involved white youth, 51% involved black youth, 1% involved Asian youth, and 1% involved American Indian youth. For property crime arrests, the reapportions were 64% white youth, 33% black youth, 2% Asian youth, and 1% American Indian youth. Black youth were overrepresented in Juvenile arrests. ” (p. 6).
The theme of black youths being overrepresented carries over to other categories of the Uniform Crime Report, of all the Juvenile arrests black youths made 58% of all murders and 67% of robberies while other races maintained or decreased in percentage. Understanding why black youth are overrepresented is difficult to fathom; a possible explanation may be the cultural acceptance of social deviancy and the lack of morals instilled by family and community. It is difficult to understand how black youths continue to increase in violent behavior when so many resources are poured into their communities.
Parents are given welfare to stay home and provide assistance to their children and children are given programs to keep them off the street. This question will remain to be debated in the future. Female Juveniles have also shown an increase in arrests throughout the years. According to “U. S. Department of Justice Office Of Justice Programs” (2012),”Research has suggested that girls involved in the Juvenile Justice system do indeed have different profiles room boys’. Girls have higher rates of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse in their histories (Bloom et al. 2002; Kahn et al. 009). To escape highly dysfunctional homes, girls will run away, which is one of the most prevalent risk factors for girls’ ultimate involvement with the Juvenile Justice system. Although girls and boys run away at about the same rate, girls are arrested more frequently than boys are for this status offense (Bloom et al. 2002). Girls appear to have greater odds of co-morbid mental health conditions and are particularly associated with major depression, astronautic stress disorder, separation anxiety, and disruptive disorders (Huffier and Mason 2009; Vincent et al. 008; Kahn et al. 2009). Girls tend to be younger when detained than boys, have been detained for less-serious crimes or status offenses, and have higher rates of family dysfunction (Tracy, Kemp-Leonard, and Abrasions- James 2009; Kahn et al. 2009). Laurie Schaeffer, in her ethnographic study of system- involved girls, insists that “the vast extent of emotional injury in the form of sexual and violent assault that young women in this population report experiencing cannot e understated” (2006, 2). (Gender-specific Programming). In 2009 females were accounted for 22% of all simple assaults while males made only 15%. Females are also overrepresented in arrest dealing with thefts. The National Report Series explains a decrease in Juvenile arrest in 2009, but it only gives a snapshot of today’s youths and does not give a reason for the increases in minority and female youth offenders. One must look at what society is accepting as social norms and how juveniles are seen in the criminal Justice system.