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NCJ Number: 208088 Find in a Library
Title: Who Do You Refer?: The Effects of a Policy Change on Juvenile Referrals
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:15  Issue:4  Dated:December 2004  Pages:437-461
Author(s): John D. McCluskey; Sean P. Varano; Beth M. Huebner; Timothy S. Bynum
Date Published: December 2004
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the effect of a policy change limiting police discretion on the rate of juvenile court referrals.
Abstract: During the past 20 years, the juvenile justice system has become increasingly formalized and, arguably, increasingly punitive. Police departments have also formalized their approach to juvenile justice by implementing organizational policies that limit police discretion concerning juvenile suspects. The current study examined the outcomes of a Lakeside Police Department policy, instituted in 1994, that limited police discretion regarding juvenile court referrals. Data included juvenile arrest and county court records compiled on all juveniles arrested for the first time in 1993, prior to the policy change, and on all juveniles arrested for the first time in 1995, after the policy change. Under examination was how the policy change affected juvenile court referrals to a county family court. Results of multivariate regression analyses indicated that, overall, juveniles were more likely to be referred to county family court following the policy change, with the most significant effects occurring with young offenders and offenders charged with less serious offenses. The effects of race and gender on referrals to court did not change significantly following the policy change. The findings underscore the importance of researching policy changes when examining trends in arrest and referral rates, especially among juvenile offenders. Tables, references
Main Term(s): Juvenile court intake; Policy analysis
Index Term(s): Court referrals; Criminal justice system policy
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