Contexts of Juvenile Justice Decision Making, The: When Race Matters

SUNY Press
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Explores the contexts of judges' decision making in juvenile courts that incarcerate disproportionately more minorities than whites.

An in-depth examination of the contextual nature of decision making and the causes of disproportionate minority confinement in four relatively homogenous juvenile courts in Iowa, this book explores the subjective social psychological processes of juvenile court officers and the factors that influence those processes. Iowa, although a state with a predominantly white population, has one of the highest minority incarceration rates for juveniles. Michael J. Leiber focuses on the relationships between adherence to correctional orientations (such as retribution and rehabilitation) and decision-makers' views concerning race, crime, family, and respect for authority with judgments and differential outcomes for youth. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies are used to determine the extent to which correctional ideologies and decision-makers' stereotyping of minorities are fueled by a wide range of contingencies, the impact of case processing and outcomes of whites, African Americans, and Native Americans, and how it varies by jurisdiction.

“…a must not only for researchers but also for policy makers and practitioners…” — Criminal Justice Review

"This is a highly readable book that covers a topic of major importance in present-day society. As Leiber notes, the role of decision-makers' attitudes is an important, yet largely ignored variable and the qualitative portion of his study are an important contribution to the literature." — Randall G. Shelden, University of Nevada at Las Vegas
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About the author

Michael J. Leiber is Professor of Criminology at the University of Northern Iowa.
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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Dec 1, 2002
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Pages
225
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ISBN
9780791486634
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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What should be done with minors who kill, maim, defile, and destroy the lives of others? The state of Texas deals with some of its most serious and violent youthful offenders through "determinate sentencing," a unique sentencing structure that blends parts of the juvenile and adult justice systems. Once adjudicated via determinate sentencing, offenders are first incarcerated in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC). As they approach age eighteen, they are either transferred to the Texas prison system to serve the remainder of their original determinate sentence or released from TYC into Texas's communities.

The first long-term study of determinate sentencing in Texas, Lost Causes examines the social and delinquent histories, institutionalization experiences, and release and recidivism outcomes of more than 3,000 serious and violent juvenile offenders who received such sentences between 1987 and 2011. The authors seek to understand the process, outcomes, and consequences of determinate sentencing, which gave serious and violent juvenile offenders one more chance to redeem themselves or to solidify their place as the next generation of adult prisoners in Texas. The book's findings—that about 70 percent of offenders are released to the community during their most crime-prone years instead of being transferred to the Texas prison system and that about half of those released continue to reoffend for serious crimes—make Lost Causes crucial reading for all students and practitioners of juvenile and criminal justice.

Seminar paper from the year 2003 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1,3, Technical University of Braunschweig, 5 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Worse than the economic impact of the Depression were its psychological effects on the people: unemployment and hunger lead to moral depression, distrust, and the downfall of traditional legal norms. Consequently, criminality became a major problem which politicians did not seem to be able to stop. It was an open secret that gangsters such as Al Capone made a lot of money by trading with alcoholic beverages during Prohibition and gained a lot of political influence by this. Chicago is commonly seen as the place where gangdom first developed. Its gangster image still clings to the city today. The most prominent events and people related to the gangs of Chicago were Al Capone and the ‘War of Sicilian Succession’ which resulted in the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, leaving seven gang leaders killed and Capone as the new czar of the underworld. For the public, the adventurous and fancy life of the gang world became the symbol for the new mass culture that evolved from urbanization. The stereotype of the new criminal helped to overcome the traditional social boundaries that seemed no longer apt for the urbanized society. The gangster-movie genre, along with the press reinforced the gangster myth. SCARFACE –SHAME OF THE NATION by Howard Hawks (1930/1932) fits in with this concept. However, the movie also shows the influence the press takes in the creation of the media gangster. For this reason, it gives an ambivalent picture of the gang world in the 1930s. So is it a critique or part of the gangster myth creation? How are the historical events depicted, and how much is the representation of the gangsters in the movie predisposed by the media image of the gangster? In order to answer these questions, a short historical overview of Chicago’s ganglife at the turn of the 19th century is given and the development of the gangster myth and the role of class, ethnicity, and style is explained. The characteristics of the gangster movie in the 1930s are put into context with the analysis of Howard Hawks’ SCARFACE – SHAME OF THE NATION. The movie is furthermore analyzed with regard to the depiction of historical events, gangster iconography, and the role of the media.
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