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NCJ Number: 189751 Find in a Library
Title: Color of Justice: An Analysis of Juvenile Adult Court Transfers in California
Author(s): Mike Males Ph.D.; Dan Macallair MPA
Corporate Author: Youth Law Ctr
United States of America

Justice Policy Institute
United States of America
Date Published: January 2000
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Justice Policy Institute
San Francisco, CA 94103
Youth Law Ctr
San Francisco, CA 94104
Sale Source: Justice Policy Institute
1622 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This research examined the impact of adult-court transfers and sentencing on minority youth in California, with attention to minority representation in the transfers of juvenile defendants to adult criminal court in Los Angeles County.
Abstract: This study analyzed data from appropriate county and State agencies for juvenile arrestees in 1996-98 and the sentencing of juveniles in 1997-99. Both sets of 3-year periods were the most recent for juvenile arrests and juveniles transferred to adult court. Due to the absence of uniform county reporting standards, adult court transfer statistics from Los Angeles County were used for 1996. The analysis compared the proportions of white, African-American, Hispanic, and Asian/Others in the total juvenile (ages 10-17) population and in the total number of juvenile arrestees by offense category with the respective proportions of their transfers to adult court and sentencing to a facility. The purpose of this analysis was to test the hypothesis that minority youth were disproportionately transferred to adult court and sentenced to incarceration compared to white youths in similar circumstances. The study found that minority youths were 2.7 times more likely than white youths to be arrested for a violent felony (the crimes most likely to result in transfer to adult court). Once in the system, minority juvenile violent-crime arrestees were 3.1 times more likely than white juvenile violent-crime arrestees to be transferred to adult court and sentenced to confinement in a California Youth Authority prison. The limited analysis of Los Angeles County data found that the major factor in the large racial disparities in sentencing was the more frequent transfer of minority juveniles to adult court. Given the current analysis and previous studies that have shown similar racial discrepancies in other areas of the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, future research should examine the basis for the large adult court disparities in sentencing found in the current study. 6 figures, 2 tables, and 8 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile court waiver
Index Term(s): Black juvenile delinquents; Black/African Americans; California; Comparative analysis; Discretionary decisions; Hispanic Americans; Juvenile processing; Juvenile sentencing; Minority overrepresentation
Note: Downloaded August 17, 2001.
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