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Reducing Justice SystemInequalityVO LUM E 2 83NUMBER 1SPRIN G 2018Reducing Justice System Inequality: Introducing the Issue11The Role of Schools in Sustaining Juvenile Justice System Inequality37Can Foster Care Interventions Diminish Justice System Inequality?59Decriminalizing Racialized Youth through Juvenile Diversion83“Kids Do Not So Much Make Trouble, They Are Trouble”: Police-Youth Relations103Jails and Local Justice System Reform: Overview and Recommendations125Ending Mass Probation: Sentencing, Supervision, and Revocation147Parental Incarceration and Children’s WellbeingA COLLABORATION OF THE WOODROW WILSON SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS ATPRINCETON UNIVERSITY AND THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION

The Future of Children promotes effective policies and programs for children byproviding timely, objective information based on the best available research.Senior Editorial StaffJournal StaffEditor-in-ChiefSara McLanahanPrinceton UniversityDirector, Center for Research onChild Wellbeing, and William S. TodProfessor of Sociology and Public AffairsAssociate EditorKris McDonaldPrinceton UniversitySenior EditorsJanet M. CurriePrinceton UniversityDirector, Center for Health and Wellbeing;Chair, Department of Economics;and Henry Putnam Professor of Economicsand Public AffairsRon HaskinsBrookings InstitutionSenior Fellow, Cabot Family Chair, andCo-Director, Center on Children and FamiliesMelissa KearneyUniversity of MarylandProfessor, Department of EconomicsCecilia Elena RousePrinceton UniversityDean, Woodrow Wilson School of Publicand International Affairs, Katzman-ErnstProfessor in the Economics of Education,and Professor of Economics and Public AffairsManaging EditorJon WallacePrinceton UniversityOutreach DirectorLisa Markman-PithersPrinceton UniversityAssociate Director, EducationResearch SectionOutreach CoordinatorEmily BowdenBrookings InstitutionCommunications CoordinatorRegina LeidyPrinceton UniversityAdministratorTracy MeronePrinceton UniversityIsabel SawhillBrookings InstitutionSenior FellowThe Future of Children would like to thank the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the William T.Grant Foundation, and Cynthia King Vance for their generous support.ISSN: 1054-8289ISBN: 978-0-9857863-8-0

VOLUME 28NUMBER 1SPRING 2018Reducing Justice System Inequality3Reducing Justice System Inequality: Introducing the Issueby John H. Laub11The Role of Schools in Sustaining Juvenile Justice System Inequalityby Paul J. Hirschfield37Can Foster Care Interventions Diminish Justice System Inequality?by Youngmin Yi and Christopher Wildeman59Decriminalizing Racialized Youth through Juvenile Diversionby Traci Schlesinger83“Kids Do Not So Much Make Trouble, They Are Trouble”:Police-Youth Relationsby Rod K. Brunson and Kashea Pegram103Jails and Local Justice System Reform: Overview and Recommendationsby Jennifer E. Copp and William D. Bales125Ending Mass Probation: Sentencing, Supervision, and Revocationby Michelle S. Phelps147Parental Incarceration and Children’s Wellbeingby Kristin Turney and Rebecca Goodsellwww.futureofchildren.org

Reducing Justice System Inequality: Introducing the IssueReducing Justice System Inequality:Introducing the IssueJohn H. Laub, issue editorThe topic of inequality in theUnited States has becomevirtually impossible to ignore,and the justice system isan important part of thediscussion. Witness the recent NationalResearch Council report on the causes andconsequences of the country’s high ratesof incarceration, especially for minorityoffenders.1 We’ve also heard heated debatesabout the stop, question, and frisk policiesfollowed by police in New York City andelsewhere.2 More broadly, legal scholarMichelle Alexander has referred to massincarceration and other justice systempolicies as “the New Jim Crow” in America.3When considering the known facts aboutcrime, offenders, victims, and the justicesystem response, important complexities arisethat both reflect and contribute to inequalityin the wider society. The fundamental factis that criminal offending and criminalvictimization for common law crimes (whichinclude murder, rape, robbery, assault,burglary, motor vehicle theft, and larceny)aren’t randomly distributed across personsand places. Inequalities are present in thepatterns of serious criminal offending andserious criminal victimization even beforeany contact with the justice system. Chronicoffending is also related to gender, race, andsocial class.4 We can think of these knownfacts as input to the justice system.At the same time, the justice system’sresponses exacerbate inequality among youngpeople in America. We can think of theseresponses as output from the justice systemthat reinforces and deepens inequalities;researchers have increasingly examined thecollateral consequences of justice systeminvolvement. The distinction between inputand output suggests that while crime andjustice system involvement are typicallyconsidered to be outcomes, crime and justicesystem involvement may also drive inequality.Setting the StageThough it’s vitally important to focus onfundamental inequities that occur beforepeople become involved with justice system,this issue of Future of Children examineshow the justice system reinforces andexacerbates inequities among children,adolescents, and young adults, and howalternative policies, programs, and practicesmight mitigate those effects. The issue hasfour distinctive features. First, it covers theJohn H. Laub is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland,College Park.VOL. 28 / NO. 1 / S PR ING 20183

John H. Laubentire justice system, starting with stop,question, and frisk by police on the streetand continuing through each stage of theprocess—policing (arrest, booking, lockup),courts (arraignment, trial, conviction), andcorrections (probation, jail, prison, andparole). Second, it devotes special attentionto schools, in particular school suspensionsand the role of the police—school resourceofficers—in schools. Third, it examines threedomains that contribute to the reproductionof inequality but have received little attentionfrom researchers and policy makers—fostercare, probation, and jails. Fourth, and mostimportant, it assesses policies, programs, andpractices to reduce justice system inequality.What strategies have worked? Whatstrategies should be tried? What strategiesshould be avoided?The articles in this issue should be viewedfrom a life-course perspective that putspersons in context. Such a perspectiveacknowledges that individuals are embeddedin broader structures, and that individualbehavior is the product of interactionbetween personal development and socialcontext—family, school, neighborhood, andthe like. The justice system directly andindirectly impinges on these intersectingdomains. These direct and indirect effectsare often cumulative and can compoundover time. Along with my colleague RobertSampson, I have articulated a theory thatcumulative disadvantage over the lifecourse has a snowball effect. Specifically,early misconduct in childhood, as well asadolescent delinquency and its negativeconsequences (such as arrest, officiallabeling, and incarceration), increasinglyjeopardize a child’s future development.5 Ifwe can better understand the mechanismsthat exacerbate inequality at the individual,family, school, and neighborhood levels, and4T H E F U T UR E OF C HI L DRE Nsee how they interact and overlap, we canhelp identify promising interventions.Given recent bipartisan support for criminaljustice reform, now is a particularly goodtime to take stock of the policies, programs,and practices that may reduce justice systeminequality. Each article in this issue assessessuch policies, programs, and practices indetail. Thus, this issue offers a much-neededevidence-based voice in discussions of how toreform the justice system.Summary of the ArticlesCutting Off the PipelineThe first two articles look at schools andfoster care, both of which can be viewedas feeders into the justice system. In “TheRole of Schools in Sustaining JuvenileJustice System Inequality,” Paul Hirschfieldexplores how school experiences contributeto disproportionate minority confinement inthe juvenile justice system. Examining the“school-to-prison pipeline,” he distinguishesbetween micro-level processes that affectindividuals and macro-level processes thataffect schools and communities. At the microlevel, Hirschfield finds that black studentswho violate the rules are more likely toreceive out-of-school suspension, experiencearrests at school by school resource officers(police in schools), and be transferred toalternative schools for disciplinary reasons.Suspension elevates the risk that thesestudents will be arrested in the community,and ultimately convicted and imprisoned.Suspension has also been linked to droppingout of school, which leads to more juvenilejustice involvement.At the macro level, a school’s racialcomposition affects its rates of out-of-schoolsuspension, surveillance, and police presence.

Reducing Justice System Inequality: Introducing the IssueIn addition, schools with lower test scoresand lower grades appear to use harsherdisciplinary methods. Black students tendto attend schools that have higher rates ofsuspension, extensive surveillance, morepolice officers, and harsher discipline.Hirschfield makes two recommendationsto reduce schools’ influence on juvenilejustice inequality, both of which focus onreducing out-of-school suspensions, arrestsin schools, and school-based court referrals.The first recommendation is to introduceschool-based restorative justice practicesthat offer alternative forms of conflictresolution and seek to enhance students’connection to school. The second is toadopt Positive Behavioral Interventions andSupports (PBIS), a system that trains schoolstaff in nonpunitive methods of behaviormanagement. Under PBIS, unruly studentsare offered individualized supports ratherthan being suspended. Restorative justiceand PBIS keep students in school withoutcompromising school safety or performance.According to Hirschfield, in both casesthe key to reducing disproportionateminority confinement is to target highrisk students and high-risk schools. Thecosts of these methods aren’t trivial, norare the challenges in implementing them,but Hirschfield points to several successfulmodels.In the next article, “Can Foster CareInterventions Diminish Justice SystemInequality?,” Youngmin Yi and ChristopherWildeman examine how the foster caresystem channels children and adolescentsinto the justice system, especially poorminority children. The child welfaresystem has long overlapped with the justicesystem, but this topic has yet to receivethe attention it deserves. Just as there’sa school-to-prison pipeline, there is also afoster-care-to-prison pipeline.Drawing on extensive research, Yi andWildeman show that children and youth infoster care are more likely to be racial/ethnicminorities and to come from poor families.Youth in foster care are more likely toexperience juvenile justice contact, and to bearrested and incarcerated once they becomeadults. Moreover, placement in foster careis associated with higher risks of substanceabuse, housing instability, lower educationalattainment and poorer job prospects, teenpregnancy, and compromised mental health.Finally, those who age out of foster careat 18 are more at risk for homelessness,unemployment, and incarceration in earlyadulthood. Foster care thus contributes toinequality in both the justice system andwider society.Yi and Wildeman examine what happensto children during their stay in foster careand after they age out of the system. Theauthors offer strategies that could reducejustice system inequality at both stages.With respect to foster care placement, theysuggest improving the stability, quality, andpermanence of placements; offering moresupport for caregivers; and expanding andimproving access to substance use andmental health treatment. As for aging out,they recommend extending foster careplacement and services beyond age 18,providing legal support for foster youth,extending employment and educationalsupport, and providing housing and healthcare for late adolescents and young adults.Justice System AvoidanceThe next article looks at one of the mostpopular reform policies for reducing justicesystem inequality: diversion away from theVOL. 28 / NO. 1 / S PR ING 20185

John H. Laubjustice system. Along with decriminalization,due process, and deinstitutionalization,diversion was a popular juvenilejustice policy during the 1970s.6 In“Decriminalizing Racialized Youth throughJuvenile Diversion,” Traci Schlesingermakes an important distinction betweeninformal and formal diversion. Informaldiversion keeps youth out of the justicesystem entirely, while formal diversionentails providing services to youth in thehope of minimizing their involvement withthe justice system. Schlesinger argues thatinformal diversion is best suited for low-riskyouths, while formal diversion is a better fitfor those at high risk. She concludes thatthese two forms of diversion can reduceoverall involvement in the justice system,confinement in punitive settings, and racialdisparities.Schlesinger finds obvious gaps in theresearch, and notes several challenges tomaking diversion policies successful—forexample, the need for risk assessments thatdon’t replicate racial disparities. In addition,the strategy of formal diversion requiresthat youth be able to access extensiveservices in the communities where theylive, rather than in the justice system, acondition that’s becoming more difficult ata time when cities and states face budgetcrises and federal funds are dwindling orhave been eliminated. Finally, we mustensure that diversion programs are properlyimplemented and that the youth who begindiversion programs actually complete them.Justice System ReformThe next four articles deal with variousaspects of the justice system. In the firstone, “‘Kids Do Not So Much Make Trouble,They Are Trouble’: Police-Youth Relations,”6T H E F U T UR E OF C HI L DRE NRod Brunson and Kashea Pegram focuson the police, arguably the most visiblecomponent of the justice system. Examiningresearch on policing practices regardingchildren and youth, the authors find thatpolice officers wield enormous discretion andthat their encounters with youth, especiallythose of color, are fraught with difficulties.Considerable evidence shows that youngblack and Latino youth have disproportionatecontact with the police, and that direct andindirect experiences with the police shapeyouths’ attitudes toward them. Finally,and not surprisingly, much of the tensionsurrounding the police and communitiesof color results from perceptions of theheavy-handed policing strategies—like stop,question, and frisk—predominantly usedin high-crime neighborhoods that typicallyhave a higher proportion of people of color asresidents. These policies contribute to justicesystem inequality, especially with regard torace, ethnicity, and social class.Brunson and Pegram offer three strategies toreduce justice system inequalities in policing.The first is the now familiar recommendationto improve trust between residents and thepolice. Though doing so may not be easy,the authors point to emerging evidencethat the police can help residents build thecollective efficacy to promote informal socialcontrol, and that increased interactionswith youth can shift attitudes toward thepolice in a positive direction. The secondrecommendation involves continuing theuse of consent decrees, which are legalchannels to reform the police. Thoughconsent decrees are promising, researchhasn’t definitively established that theycan reduce justice system inequalities andrestore public confidence in the police.The third recommendation is that policechiefs should take the lead in reducing the

Reducing Justice System Inequality: Introducing the Issuenumber of civilians killed by the police intheir departments. The authors note that theBlack Lives Matter movement is drawingnationwide attention to racially biasedpolicing with respect to lethal and nonlethalpolice violence. They write that “substantialreductions in the number of civilians killedby officers would help assuage tensionsconcerning the ultimate justice systeminequality.”The second article in this set focuses on jails,which despite their ubiquity are one of theleast explored aspects of the justice system.Although the US prison population farexceeds the jail population on any given day,each year more than 13 million people movein and out of America’s more than 3,000jails. Along with this constant churn, the jailpopulation’s composition presents its own setof challenges—for example, most people heldin jail have not been convicted of a crime.In “Jails and Local Justice System Reform:Overview and Recommendations,”Jennifer Copp and William Bales providea comprehensive look at jails, includingthe facilities and operations, characteristicsof those held in jail, and conditions ofconfinement. The authors conclude thatjustice system inequality is increased bothby current pretrial release practices and bythe lack of programs for those who havebeen convicted and are serving time in jail—people who are often struggling with poverty,unemployment, homelessness, poor physicalhealth, mental illness, or substance abuse.With respect to policy, Copp and Balesdevote considerable attention to nonfinancialforms of release for those being held injail while awaiting trial. They contend thatcash bail should be used only for accusedoffenders who pose a legitimate flight riskbased on validated risk assessment tools.Otherwise, accused offenders, especiallythose who are indigent, should be allowedto stay in their communities so they cankeep their jobs while awaiting trial. Coppand Bales’s other policy recommendationsinclude adopting validated pretrial riskassessment tools, expanding pretrial services,increasing the use of diversion away fromthe justice system, finding alternatives to jailincarceration for convicted offenders, andexpediting case processing to decrease boththe time to trial and the overall length of stay.To fully implement these recommendations,more research will be needed to establishwhich policies, programs, and practices arebest for the jail population. The authors makea convincing case that jails should be frontand center in discussing reforms to downsizeprison populations at the state and federallevel.The third article in this set coversprobation—that is, supervision in thecommunity instead of imprisonment.America’s exceptionally high rates ofincarceration are well documented, but wealso have high rates of probation. Indeed, forboth juveniles and adults, probation has longbeen the most commonly imposed sanctionin the justice system. Yet surprisingly littleresearch has explored probation and itsrole in exacerbating inequality in the justicesystem.In “Ending Mass Probation: Sentencing,Supervision, and Revocation,” MichellePhelps asks whether probation is a netwidener (that is, whether it simply placesmore people under the control of the justicesystem) or a true alternative to imprisonment.Her answer is that it’s both. She looks atthree aspects of probation—which peopleare sentenced to probation, the experienceVOL. 27 / NO. 1 / S PR ING 20177

John H. Laubof supervision, and trends in revocation ofprobation—and pays special attention tothe ways mass probation affects individuals,families, and communities.Phelps makes a number of policyrecommendations to reduce the justicesystem inequality generated by massprobation. These include avoidingnet-widening by embracing truedecriminalization and diversion; improvingsupervision through smaller probationcaseloads and ensuring that those onprobation are appropriate candidates;and reducing the number of conditions—especially those that create hardships forprobationers—as well as the time periodand the o