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Does the Gender of the Intake Probation Officer Contextualize the Treatment of Black Youth?

NCJ Number
Justice Research and Policy Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: 2010 Pages: 51-76
Michael J. Leiber; Sarah Jane Brubaker
Date Published
26 pages
This study examined the effect of gender on an intake officer's treatment of male juvenile offenders.
The presence of race differentials in case outcomes has recently been explained by a focus on the characteristics of the decision makers within the context of the interplay between discretion, a reliance on stereotyping, and the perceptions of decision makers. The authors continue this line of inquiry by assessing what effects the gender of the intake officer may have in understanding the treatment of male youth. Using data from juvenile court records within a single juvenile court jurisdiction, the research is guided by two general questions. Do female and male officers make similar intake decisions once relevant legal and extralegal considerations related to the youth are controlled? Do female and male officers rely on similar legal and extralegal considerations and give equal weight to those considerations when making intake decisions? The results from our inquiry have implications for broadening the scope of the contexts of intake juvenile justice decisionmaking, especially in terms of how the characteristics of decisionmakers influence case outcomes. The implications of the results may also better inform efforts that address the equitable treatment of youth in the juvenile justice system. References (Published Abstract)