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Putting Race Into Context: Race, Juvenile Justice Processing, and Urbanization

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 15 Issue: 3 Dated: September 1998 Pages: 487-504
C DeJong; K C Jackson
Date Published
18 pages
This article examines differential sentencing patterns among black, Hispanic, and white juveniles and the context in which those decisions are made.
Using a bivariate probit model, the article shows that juveniles living in urban counties are more likely to be referred to juvenile court, and that juveniles living in a single-mother household are more likely than juveniles living with both parents to be referred to court and to receive secure placement. Race-specific models indicate that black youths are more likely to receive harsh treatments in urban court; white youths are not treated differently on the basis of court location. Living in a single-mother household is a disadvantage for white youths when they are referred and sentenced, but family status is not a determinant for black youths. Minority youths are victims of disparate treatment in several ways: (1) Hispanic youths are treated more harshly than black and white youths at referral; (2) Disparate treatment can occur indirectly, specifically in regard to age, type of charge, and living arrangements; and (3) Black juveniles are more likely to be placed in rural courts than in urban courts, but there is no difference between urban and rural courts' treatment of white juveniles. Tables, notes, references