E. van Schooten
- Ethnic disparities in Dutch juvenile justice
- Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice
- Volume | Issue number
- 7 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- The Kohnstamm Instituut
In the Netherlands, ethnic minority boys are heavily overrepresented in prisons and secure judicial institutions for juveniles. In a sample of 324 juveniles of both native Dutch and ethnic minority origin who have come into contact with the Dutch criminal justice authorities, we compared the number of days the 2 groups were kept in detention. We also looked to see if there was any correlation between specific features of their court files and the number of days in detention. Our study shows that, in their reports to the courts, what we call "forensic behavioral experts" and social workers interpret youth crime among ethnic minorities differently from behavior of equal seriousness exhibited by young native Dutch people. These reports and expert opinions, combined with the difficulties experienced in interacting with offenders when studying their personality and life circumstances, has an influence on the decisions reached by courts and the severity of sentencing.
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