Tuesday, July 11, 2006
From Sacramento Bee.com: Across Sacramento County, more teenage boys are standing before a judge, charged as adults in some of the most vicious homicides of the year, a startling fact that defies national trends and one that has left police, community groups and families searching for elusive answers.
During the first six months of this year, 15 children -- including two 14-year-old boys -- have been arrested in homicide cases, surpassing the number of juveniles arrested in homicides annually since 1996, a Bee analysis shows. In one week alone last month, eight children appeared in court in murder cases from this year.
More troubling, the rise in homicide arrests among Sacramento youths bucks trends seen elsewhere. A study published last year by Rand Corp., a nonprofit think-tank, showed a 46 percent drop in juvenile arrests for violent offenses such as murder, from 1994 to 2003 in California. And a U.S. Department of Justice report this year boasted of a low rate of juvenile arrests in violent crimes not seen since the 1970s.
Daniel Okada, assistant professor of criminal justice at California State University, Sacramento, said the recent spate of arrests could be an anomaly. Or, it could signal the start of a cycle of youth violence he predicted would begin in 2008, based on population trends and other patterns.
Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]