The Effects of Time and Race on Juvenile Justice Decision Making in One Juvenile Court

Michael J. Leiber, University of Northern Iowa
Mahesh K. Nalla, Michigan State University

The "get tough movement" and the "war on drugs" have had a significant impact on the detection and involvement of youth, especially African Americans, in the juvenile justice system. Using the symbolic threat thesis as a theoretical framework and data that covers a 21 year-period (1980 to 2000), the present research examines and compares patterns in case processing within the context of the factors that might influence case outcomes for whites and African Americans in one Iowa juvenile court. The findings have implications for advancing our understanding of the social control of youth and in particular, African Americans.

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Updated 05/20/2006