Why Are American Indians Important as a “Category of Difference in the Criminal Justice System?
residents. The rate of violent crimes committed against Native Americans is substantially higher than any other minority group in the United States. Yet, little or no attention is paid to them. According to information collected by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), American Indians are likely to experience violent crimes at more than twice the rate of all other U.S. residents.
In a review of one of the largest police departments in Indian Country, Naranjo and colleagues (1996) both echo and expand on these concerns.
1994). Social and behavioral science research, however, has moved beyond an examination of the direct effects of race on criminal justice processing into more methodologically sophisticated and nuanced studies, which show that indirect and cumulative racial effects continue to produce significant race differentials. Race may also interact with other variables (such as socioeconomic or family status) to affect outcomes in criminal justice processing. Much more research is needed, however, to understand the dynamics of criminal careers at different stages—particularly how experiences in the juvenile justice system affect future processing in the adult criminal justice system. There is strong and compelling evidence that racial discrimination does exist at various points in the criminal justice system )Baldus, David C., 1990). A considerable body of empirical research demonstrates that African Americans, and in particular, those African Americans who murder whites, are more likely to get the death penalty than those who murder African Americans, or than whites who are convicted of murdering whites.
Anderson, Elijah. 1994. “The Code of the Streets.” The Atlantic Monthly, May 1994, pp. 81-94.
Baldus, David C., George Woodworth, and Charles A. Pulaski, Jr. 1990. Equal Justice and the Death Penalty: A Legal and Empirical Analysis. Boston, MA: Northeastern U. Press
Glaze, Lauren E. and Seri Palla. 2004. Probation and Parole in the United States, 2003. Bureau of Justice Statistics Bulletin. NCJ 205336. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.