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ERIC Number: ED449956
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Aug
Pages: 37
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Dealing with Disproportionality in the Juvenile Justice System: The State of Washington's Approach.
Pilla, Thomas V.
In 1995, a report on the Washington state juvenile justice system found that minority youth were four times more likely than white youth to be sentenced to confinement. This report reviews aspects of disproportionality in Washington's juvenile justice system, summarizes inquiries by the Washington Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and highlights state and community efforts to address disproportionality. A section on demography and the extent of the problem examines Washington population data overall and for youth aged 10-17 by racial group; evidence of racial disproportionality in anecdotes, arrest rates, detention rates, prosecutor actions, and sentencing patterns; and positive and negative aspects of judicial discretion. Diversion programs--a legally mandated alternative to court for kids--have had some success, but problems include lack of funding, lack of community commitment, and family difficulties that prevent youth from appearing at required hearings. Statewide efforts on disproportionality include improved data collection and analysis on the juvenile justice system, state-mandated monitoring of juvenile disposition standards and the effectiveness and cultural relevance of rehabilitative services, and extensive diversity training for law enforcement and juvenile justice personnel. Successful community programs provide mentors to oversee alternatives to detention for African American youth, work to reinstate youth in school, and provide counseling and tutoring at drop-in centers. A multitribal organization advocates for American Indian youth in the juvenile justice system. Ongoing challenges include contributing factors in the child's environment, lack of funding, detentions due to failure to appear, lack of bilingual staff, and lack of prevention services. (SV)
U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, 624 Ninth Street N.W., Washington, DC 20425; Tel: 202-376-8125; email:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: United States Commission on Civil Rights, Los Angeles, CA. Western Regional Office.
Authoring Institution: Washington State Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Seattle.
Identifiers - Location: Washington