Examples of such contextual bias include drug enforcement targeted at public housing projects or enhanced penalties for crack (as opposed to powder) cocaine. The third theory places the fault on critical decisions in the system which are based on stereotypical views of minority families or communities, such as being more dysfunctional or less supportive.  Dr. Howell discussed how each of these scenarios plays out in the juvenile justice system. Photograph of Reggie Morton and David Gamble
Dr. Howell went on to dispel, through research and statistics, six common myths about juvenile crime and the justice system, demonstrating that:
  • juvenile violence is NOT the country’s top crime problem;
  • juveniles are NOT the driving force behind the increase in violence in the United States;
  • predictions of a coming wave of "juvenile super-predators" are UNFOUNDED and inaccurate;
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  • the juvenile justice system CAN deal effectively with today’s juvenile offenders;
  • juvenile gang drug trafficking is NOT the cause of the recent increase in juvenile homicide; and
  • transferring more juveniles to adult court will NOT reduce juvenile violent crime.

Exploring Minority Youth

This general session was presented by a panel consisting of David Gamble, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges; Reginald Morton, Community Research Associates,

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Inc.; Judge Kenneth Fields, Maricopa County Superior Court; Luis Ibarra, Friendly House; Chief Harold Hurtt, Phoenix Police Department; Richard Romley, Maricopa County Attorney; and Helene Abrams, Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office. The presentations given by each panelist provided the audience with a baseline of common understanding regarding the history and issues related to disproportionate confinement of minority youth and the over-representation of minorities in the juvenile justice system.

Reggie Morton began the panel by presenting background information on the definition and causes of disproportionate minority confinement (DMC) and minority over-representation (MOR).  He discussed the federal DMC mandate passed in the 1988 and 1992

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