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Race, Ethnic, and Gender Divides in Juvenile Court Sanctioning and Rehabilitative Intervention

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Dated: December 2014
Joshua C. Cochran; Daniel P. Mears
Date Published
December 2014
6 pages
Drawing on focal concerns theory, as well as scholarship on the juvenile court's mandate to consider youth culpability and amenability to treatment, this study developed hypotheses that seek to examine whether the court will (1) punish Whites less severely and (2) be more likely to intervene with Whites through rehabilitative intervention and, simultaneously, be more punitive and less rehabilitative with minorities, and, in particular, Black males.
Florida juvenile court referral data and multinomial logistic regression analyses were used to examine multi-category disposition and "subdisposition" measures. Findings suggest that minority youth, especially Black males, were not only more likely to receive punitive sanctions, they also were less likely than White youth to receive rehabilitative interventions and instead experienced significantly higher rates of dismissals. The analyses indicate that similar racial and ethnic disparities emerge when "subdispositions"specifically, placement options within diversion and probationwere examined. (Publisher abstract modified)