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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134135 Find in a Library
Title: Race and Juvenile Court Decision Making Revisited
Journal: Criminal Justice Policy Review  Volume:4  Issue:2  Dated:(1990)  Pages:159-187
Author(s): J B Johnson; P E Secret
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 29
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This analysis of Nebraska Crime Commission data over a consecutive 6-year period (1982-87) found that, all else being equal, black youths were treated more harshly than white youths in most case-processing decisions.
Abstract: The study's dependent variables related to decisions pertinent to detention and the decision to refer the accused juvenile to court with or without petition, adjudication, and sentencing. The major extralegal independent variable is race (white or black). The extralegal variables of sex and age were included as controls, since prior research has shown these to be related to juvenile justice decisionmaking. The legal variables of seriousness of the instant offense and prior delinquency were controlled in this study. Data analysis indicated that race did affect decisionmaking when other decisionmaking factors were controlled. Blacks were treated more harshly in detention decisions, formal prosecution by petition, and in sentencing. Only in adjudication were whites more likely than blacks to be convicted. The latter inconsistency may be due to the fact that blacks are more likely to be charged and processed based on weaker evidence. These findings suggest that juvenile justice decisionmakers should be trained to guard against letting extralegal factors affect their decisions. 6 tables, 15 notes, and a 49-item bibliography
Main Term(s): Racial discrimination
Index Term(s): Juvenile case disposition; Juvenile detention decisionmaking; Juvenile processing; Juvenile sentencing
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