The cumulative effect of race and ethnicity in juvenile court outcomes and why preadjudication detention matters

Nancy Rodriguez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

90 Scopus citations


Despite federal and state legislation aimed at producing equitable treatment of youth in the juvenile court system, studies continue to find that race and ethnicity play a significant role in juvenile court outcomes. To date, few studies have examined the cumulative effects of race and ethnicity in juvenile court outcomes. In this study, a random sample of youth processed in Arizona during 2000 (N = 23,156) was used to examine how race and ethnicity influence diversion, petition, detention, adjudication, and disposition decisions. Analyses show that black, Latino, and American Indian youth were treated more severely in juvenile court outcomes than their white counterparts. Also, youth who were detained preadjudication were more likely to have a petition filed, less likely to have petitions dismissed, and more likely to be removed from the home at disposition. Implications for policy and practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-413
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 30 2010



  • Detention
  • Disproportionate minority contact
  • Ethnicity
  • Juvenile court
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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