Racism and classism in the youth justice system perspectives of youth and staff

Lynn Holley, Russell K. Van Vleet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Although numerous quantitative studies have examined racial disparity in the youth justice system, studies have ignored the perspectives of youth about whether racism exists within the system. This study used focus groups with system staff and focus groups and individual interviews with system-involved youth of color to explore perceptions of race and class bias within one state's youth justice system. Findings indicate that the majority of both staff and youth perceive that race and class bias are present, and that staff demonstrated apparently unintentional racism and classism during the focus groups. Implications for research and for addressing individual and institutional racism and classism are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-67
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Poverty
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 28 2006



  • Disproportionate minority confinement
  • Institutional classism
  • Institutional racism
  • Minority overrepresentation
  • Racial bias in the juvenile justice system
  • Racial profiling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Sociology and Political Science

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