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NCJ Number: 193838 Find in a Library
Title: Cumulative Disadvantage as an Explanation for Observed Disproportionality Within the Juvenile Justice System: An Empirical Test
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal  Volume:53  Issue:1  Dated:Winter 2002  Pages:1-17
Author(s): M. Dyan McGuire Ph.D.
Date Published: 2002
Page Count: 17
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: An empirical test of the cumulative disadvantage hypothesis regarding the causes of minority overrepresentation in juvenile corrections used data from all 86,118 cases referred to Missouri’s juvenile courts in 1997.
Abstract: The study arose from recognition that some researchers believe that disproportionality in the justice system is a function of cumulative disadvantage. The research used detention, adjudication, and commitment as dependent variables to examine the influence of race on the handling of Black juveniles at each stage. The study controlled for other factors known to contribute to differential handling. These factors included the seriousness of the charged offense, prior record, age, and the presence of a detention facility in the processing decision. Results indicated no clear pattern of accumulating disadvantage. Instead, racial effects occurred at the stages in case processing where decisions took place regarding detention and commitment. Thus, disadvantage did not appear to aggregate consistently as the juvenile moved through the juvenile justice system, but it did accumulate between the detention and adjudication stages when controlled for legal differences. The strongest racial effects appeared to occur at the detention stage. The large amount of unexplained variance suggested that other factors not measured by the data must also have an important role in decision-making. The analysis concluded that minorities tend to be most disadvantaged at stages in the process where juvenile justice personnel made decisions regarding confinement. Tables and 46 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile Corrections/Detention
Index Term(s): Juvenile court judicial discretion; Juvenile processing; Minority overrepresentation; Missouri; Race-punishment relationship
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