A Reassessment of Minority Overrepresentation in Connecticut's Juvenile Justice System: Progress?

Eliot C. Hartstone, Spectrum Associates Market Research
Dorinda M. Richetelli, Spectrum Associates Market Research

A major issue facing juvenile justice practitioners and policymakers across the country is the overrepresentation and disparate treatment of minority youth in the juvenile justice system. In 1993 the State of Connecticut Office of Policy and Management (OPM) and its Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee (JJAC) awarded a grant to Spectrum Associates Market Research (Spectrum Associates) to conduct a comprehensive study of minority overrepresentation in the Connecticut juvenile justice system. Based on the study's findings, the JJAC developed a series of recommendations to address the observed disparities. In 1999, the JJAC and OPM awarded Spectrum Associates a grant to repeat its study and contrast the new findings to the 1993 baseline study. Our study used quantitative research methods to examine police, court and corrections decision-making for Black, Hispanic and White juveniles to determine if and where disparate decisions occurred, and whether observed differences remained when controlling for offender and offense characteristics. Moreover, our reassessment study determined whether disparities observed in our 1993 baseline study were reduced by system actions undertaken in the six year period following our baseline study. The proposed ASC paper provides a synopsis of the findings from the reassessment study.

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Updated 05/20/2006