(on violence, property, weapons, and drug offenses). Huizinga and colleagues (2007) used data from the three delinquency studies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Rochester, New York; and Seattle, Washington, to examine DMC and the factors that might affect it at the police contact and court referral levels.

First, in all three cities, African American youth had the highest rate of contact/referral, and it was significantly greater than for white youth. Hispanics in Rochester had a significantly higher rate than whites; in Seattle, Asian American youth had a slightly higher rate of contact/referral compared with whites. These results were replicated in overall crime figures. Second, when the researchers examined race/ethnic differences in self-reported offending, they found that minority youth did exhibit higher self-reported offending than whites, but the differences were not so pronounced as they were with the official record data. In general, minority– white differences in the official record comparisons were roughly double what they were for the self-reported offending estimates. Thus, differences in self-reported offending were not able to completely eliminate the effects of race/ethnicity on official criminal records (Huizinga et al., 2007, p. 32). Third, Huizinga and colleagues examined the effect of race/ethnicity on contact/referral in the juvenile justice system after controlling for self-reported offending. Results from this analysis indicated that, across virtually all comparisons, although controlling for self-reported offending was itself significantly associated with official contact, it did not eliminate (nor very much reduce) any direct effect for race/ethnicity.

In sum, these results show that self-reported offending does not explain the differential rates of juvenile justice system contact by race/ethnicity.6 When a risk factor composite (e.g., socioeconomic status, family structure, academic performance) was added to assess whether inclusion of this additional measure altered the significant race/ethnicity effect on official record representation, once again, with one exception (Pittsburgh), the results held: although both self-reported offending and the risk factor composite were significantly associated with disproportionate involvement as measured by official records, controlling for the risk factor composite did not affect the still-significant effect for race/ethnicity on official records (Huizinga et al. (2007).

Similarly, Bersani (2012) used self-report data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97) and official crime reports to

____________________________________

6 Only a few other studies have examined self-reported delinquency and subsequent juvenile justice processing (Huizinga and Elliott, 1987, in the National Youth Survey; Fergusson, Horwood, and Swain-Campbell, 2003, in Australia; and Piquero and Brame, 2008, in the Research on Pathways to Desistance study). Although these studies contain longitudinal data, the methodological approaches thus far have not made explicit use of the longitudinal data in order to examine the racial disparity question in a developmental manner.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement