Perspectives on Delinquency, Justice and Research in One American Nation: Context and Collaboration

Lisa Bond-Maupin, New Mexico State University
James R. Maupin, New Mexico State University

National arrest and victimization data are insufficient for analyses of delinquency and juvenile justice in reservation communities. Nevertheless, recent national reports have been picked up by news media as evidence that youth crime and violence in "Indian Country" is out of control. In recognition of significant differences across American Indian nations and the importance of community-based research, this study was one of those funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in an effort to understand delinquency and juvenile justice in the unique historical, cultural, social, and legal contexts of a given reservation community. We analyzed arrest, detention, and court data in one nation in the Four Corners area of the southwestern U.S. over the eleven-year period between 1988 and 1999. Working in collaboration with tribal officials and a community advisory board, we also developed research questions of interest to tribal policymakers and community members. These questions formed the basis for in depth interviews with juvenile justice officials and focus groups with communitiy representatives. The results of the quantitative analysis will be placed in the context of the perspectives and concerns of community members and in the larger historical, cultural and social contexts of the reservation community.

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Updated 05/20/2006