Research Proposal

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RUNNING HEAD: Asian Americans

Psychology 389: Proposal

:Jurors’ Perceptions of Asian Americans as Juvenile Sex Offenders

Caitlin Smith

University of Illinois at Chicago

Abstract

Racial disparities in the criminal justice system have been prevalent for many years for both adults and juveniles. Current research tends to focus on whites, African Americans and Hispanic Americans, leaving out several other races. UsingRelying upon psychological theoretical implicationstheory, I will suggest that Asian Americans juveniles accused of sexual offenses will be found less guilty less often than African Americans accused of the same crime because of the model minority status. Asian Americans are perceived to have higher academic and career achievements, whereas African Americans are stereotyped as criminal- like. In terms of stereotypical crimes, Asian Americans are usually perceived to as more likely to commit drug crimes than other violent crimes, while African Americans are consider to be more highly involved with violent crimes such as sexual offenses. Therefore, it would might be more plausible to think believe an African American juvenile committed a violent sexual offense then an Asian American. Accordingly, because of the model minority status and perceived criminal activities, I suggest that Asian American juveniles charged with a sexual offense will be treated less punitively than African American juveniles charged with the same crime.

Sex Offender Registry

In 1994, a seven–year-old, Megan Kanka was the victim of a brutal rape and murder. Unknown to the New Jersey neighborhood, Kanka’s assailant was a previously convicted sex offender. Following this attack, New Jersey passed the harshest penalties for sex offenders that the United States has ever had. This law, known as Megan’s Law, required any sex offenders to register with law enforcement officials. This registration requires photographs, physical descriptions of the criminal, description of the offense, name of the offender’s employment, and the offender’s license plate number. Not only are law enforcement officials given this information, but under Megan’s law the information is also disclosed to the community (Trivits and & Reppucci, 2002).

In addition to this law, Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offenders Registration Program became a federal mandate that all states must form registries for sex offenders. The federal statute requires that local law enforcement agencies obtain sex offenders residential information for the remainder of the offender’s life if they have had a sexually violent assault against anyone or if they have been determined to be a sexually violent predator (Trivits and Reppucci, 2002).

Following the federal statute, many states have passed laws that mimic New Jersey’s. However, even though all states have registry programs they all differ in the way that notification to the public is given and the type of sexual offenses included. Some states have taken the federal laws requirements and used them broadly to notify the public using flyers, radio announcements, and advertisements (Trivits and & Reppucci, 2002).

Juvenile Sex Offenders

Throughout the history of the criminal justice system, juveniles have been given special rights to protect them against adult sanctions. The doctrine of parens patriae created a separate juvenile system to rehabilitate young offenders instead of being punitive towards them. However, recently the United States has been contradicting the paren patriae doctrine and requiring juvenile sex offenders to register as well. This creates a situation were juveniles are being treated as adults instead of trying to rehabilitate youth young offenders. For example, New Jersey requires children 14 or older who have committed a sex offense to register. Prior to the age of 14, juvenile sex offenders can have their record cleared and be removed from sex...
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