Last week the Albert Cobarrubias Justice squad presented to the attorneys of the juvenile division of the Santa Clara County Public Defender’s Office. We were invited to share our experiences, perspectives, and our model of how families can play a role in partnering with defense attorneys to protect youth from the system. It was a very productive sit down as we brought some of our leading organizers who first got introduced to the system through witnessing their own children face the courts. Their is nothing more insightful than a mother’s observations. We also shared the video, made by Cesar Flores, that was used by a defense attorney earlier this year to further her point that her client was being over-charged. The young man was able to resolve his case without jail or prison time, as well as preserving his relief for immigration court. We look forward to continuing our partnering efforts to keep youth out of the system!
Thought provoking study by Stanford University’s Department of Psychology that found that when people were told that a juvenile defendant was Black, the consequences for the crime were harsher than if the juvenile defendant was White. More than just proving that racial prejudice exists, the authors of the study worry about the implications of these results on the actual protections for juveniles under a system that is supposed to be considered rehabilitative. At ACJP, we’ve seen this not just in the sentencing phase of a case but even at the charging stage. We hope that this leads to a broader discussion of racism and the juvenile justice system. To read the full report, click here. — Submission Post by Charisse Domingo
When sentencing young lawbreakers, race matters, study finds
Public favors harsher punishments when criminals are black, researchers say
by Sue Dremann
Palo Alto Weekly, 6/2/2012
People’s opinions on whether youth who break the law should be sentenced as adults vary significantly when a single word — black or white — is used to describe the defendant, a new study by Stanford University’s Department of Psychology has found.