Encounters of Hispanic Juveniles With Law Enforcement

Camille Gibson, Prairie View A&M University

For the most part, police-juvenile relations are neglected areas of research. Nevertheless, these encounters are very common and significant because they produce life-long impressions for juveniles (Synder & Sickmund (1996). Hispanics have largely been ignored in the latest studies on police-minority relations. The present study is an effort to fill this "black box" of information. The study is a qualitative project wherein 120 Hispanics, primarily youths ages 18-25 are interviewed about their encounters and perceptions of law enforcement. The study, done in Houston, Texas documents the nature of those encounters in detail and assesses how perceptions of law enforcement are cultivated. A major findings of the study is that many of the Hispanics interviewed had positive perceptions of United States law enforcement, despite what others might describe as police abuse of Hispanics.

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Updated 05/20/2006