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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 163892 Find in a Library
Title: Race Effects in Juvenile Justice Decision Making: Findings of a Statewide Analysis Report
Author(s): D M Bishop; C E Frazier
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 36
Sponsoring Agency: Florida Dept of Juvenile Justice
Tallahassee, FL 32399
Sale Source: Florida Dept of Juvenile Justice
Bureau of Data and Research
2737 Centerview Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32399
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines racial disparities in processing for youths referred to Florida's juvenile justice system, from initial intake to judicial disposition.
Abstract: The study used quantitative analyses of official records of cases processed through Florida's juvenile justice system. Interviews were also conducted with juvenile judges, state's attorneys, public defenders, and social service personnel, so as to explore the social and organizational processes underlying the findings from the quantitative analyses. The findings show that for delinquency referrals, minority juveniles are more likely than white youths to be recommended for formal processing at initial intake and to be held in secure detention. Although there is no direct effect of race on prosecutorial decisionmaking, detention status does impact on filing decisions, with the consequence that minority youths are more likely to be formally prosecuted. At the judicial disposition stage, minority offenders are substantially more likely than white offenders to receive severe sanctions. For status offenses (dependency cases), whites are more likely to be referred to court than their minority counterparts. At the judicial disposition stage, no significant racial differences appear, but whites held in contempt of court for repeat status violations are more likely to be incarcerated than minority offenders. Interviews conducted with juvenile justice officials suggest that institutional racism is responsible for many of the disparities observed. Agency policies and practices inadvertently impact negatively on minority youths referred for delinquency. In addition, findings suggest that cultural stereotypes about black family systems may encourage more punitive orientations toward minorities in delinquency court and more protectionist orientations toward whites in dependency court. 2 tables, 1 figure, and 31 references
Main Term(s): Minority juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): Decisionmaking; Florida; Juvenile processing; Racial discrimination; Sentencing disparity
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