De invloed van etniciteit van jonge verdachten op beslissingen van het Openbaar Ministerie = The impact of young suspects' ethnicity on prosecutorial deciscion

D. Weenink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In the us, there is a tradition of sociological research into the unequal treatment of minorities in the justice system. The large majority of studies show that ethnic minorities are punished more harshly. Only a few of these studies focus on the question of why ethnic disparities emerge. Furthermore, the role of prosecutorial decision-making in this process has received less attention from researchers. This article focuses on prosecutorial decision-making in the Dutch juvenile justice system. It emerges that juveniles from ethnic minorities are punished more severely in the Netherlands as well. Moreover, the article shows that the unequal treatment is for the larger part caused by the problems that emerge in encounters between juvenile suspects and judicial social workers and police officers. It appears that such interaction problems have a strong effect on the outcomes of prosecutorial decision-making in the case the juvenile is from minority descent. While juveniles from Dutch ethnic descent are said to overtly resist judicial authority, juveniles from ethnic minorities 'beat about the bush' and 'equivocate' in the eyes of police officers and social workers. The latter interaction problems probably result in cultural anxiety among judicial officers, which in turn leads prosecutors to punish minorities more harshly
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)291-322
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • ethnicity
  • ethnic groups
  • minorities
  • courts
  • youth
  • criminal law
  • delinquent behaviour
  • disparity
  • immigrants
  • decision making
  • offences

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