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NCJ Number: 77743 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Legal Versus Extra-legal Determinants of Juvenile Court Dispositions
Journal: Juvenile and Family Court Journal  Volume:32  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:41-59
Author(s): W C Bailey; R D Peterson
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 19
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The dispositions of more than 54,000 delinquent and unruly youths processed by the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Juvenile Court between 1969 and 1979 were examined to determine if a child's race, sex, and social class background influenced the severity of juvenile court dispositions.
Abstract: Although courts have been accused of discriminating along racial, sexual, and socioeconomic lines, previous studies do not provide a clear understanding of the effect of extra-legal factors on disposition severity. The present study considered the relative effects of sex, race, socioeconomic background, type of offense, and previous court experience on the disposition. A legal variable, previous court experience, was found to be the most important determinant of disposition severity, while none of the extralegal factors had a significant effect. Moreover, all of the explanatory variables taken together accounted for less than 15 percent of the variation in dispositions. Results indicated that future researchers may well benefit from looking beyond types of legal and extralegal variables. They should consider such factors as the youth's demeanor; the wishes and persistence of the party referring the youth to court; and the cooperativeness, perceived character, and resources of a youth's parents. These factors may all influence case dispositions.
Index Term(s): Dispositions; Judicial discretion; Juvenile adjudication; Racial discrimination; Sex discrimination; Studies
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