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NCJ Number: 192382 Find in a Library
Title: Analytic Methods for Examining Race and Ethnic Disparity in the Juvenile Courts
Journal: Journal of Criminal Justice  Volume:29  Issue:6  Dated:November-December 2001  Pages:507-519
Author(s): John M. MacDonald
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 13
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This research analyzed juvenile court case records from Hawaii to examine race and ethnic disparity in juvenile court decision-making.
Abstract: Critiques of prior studies of juvenile court decision-making and racial disparity have asserted that these studies lack methodological rigor, focus their analyses on separate decision-making stages, and do not account for issues related to sample selection. This research used different limited dependent variable models to estimate ethnic disparity in juvenile court outcomes. The data consisted of a simple random sample of 3,000 delinquency court case records in Hawaii for 1980-87. Dependent variables included outcomes (dismissal, counsel and release, probation, confinement), the same outcomes as separate decision-making points, and the outcome as a two-stage binary process starting with the petition decision and continuing with the outcome determination. Independent variables included demographic and legally relevant indicators. The analysis compared the models according to Bayesian Information Criteria to assess the overall fit of the models. Results indicated few substantive differences across models and a general leniency of the court in favor of white youth. Results also revealed that legally relevant factors were among the strongest predictors of juvenile court outcomes. The purpose of the study was not to suggest definitive evidence of ethnic bias in the Hawaii juvenile court during the period studied, because missing data on family and neighborhood socioeconomic status might explain the observable ethnic differences. Instead, findings indicated differences in the accuracy with which these models predicted juvenile court outcomes and provided a methodological guide that other studies could use to address the issues of sample selection and model preference. Tables, figure, notes, appended methodological information, and 41 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Juvenile processing
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Hawaiian Islands; Juvenile court judicial discretion; Minority juvenile offenders; Minority overrepresentation; Race-punishment relationship; Research methods
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=192382

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