Extra-Legal Factors In The Juvenile Justice System

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Extralegal factors include age, sex, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, willingness of parents to cooperate with the police, appearance, attitude and demeanor of a youth and also the characteristics of the police officer involved (Thompson, 2012). Yes, extralegal factors do have a factor in decision making by police. Police have a decision to use discretion or not. If not basing their arrest on legal factors what others factors are there? Officers not deciding to use discretion may be based on other factors such as extralegal factors. Based on their discretion when they can arrest someone they have the option of letting the person go. The juvenile justice system is much like the adult system of criminal justice. Police and courts…show more content…
Although, extralegal factors do not always play a role, they may sometimes play a huge role. Additionally, police officers may base their arrest on legal factors. Extra-legal factors should always be considered in juvenile cases. The extralegal factors race and ethnicity, appearance & socioeconomic status will be discussed. The issue of race is another extralegal factor. There is much research that African Americans are over represented in the Criminal Justice system. They are also overrepresented in the Juvenile Justice system. Numerous studies show that race plays a role especially when they appear to be tough guys or members of gangs. Other studies show that even when this is not a factor minorities are still more likely to be stopped, detained and arrested. Also, minorities have more of a negative perception of officers than whites do (Thompson, 2012). Appearance plays a role in extralegal factors. Appurtenance refers to distinctive dressing and may also be a determination of class. In this study it was reported by offers who rated appearance as a medium of high priority as a person wearing all black is very suspicious. Also, discrimination was reported by some officers stating that a black person in a white people’s neighborhood raised suspicion because it just looks like they do not belong (Alpert, Dunham, Stroshine, Bennett & MacDonald,

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