conduct trajectory analyses that examined immigrant offending histories from early adolescence to young adulthood. Her findings showed that first-generation immigrants had lower rates of criminal involvement compared to native-born persons. In fact, violence and drug crimes were virtually nonexistent among first-generation immigrants while second-generation immigrants evinced offending patterns similar to native-born persons. These findings are consistent with those of other studies using other data sources that report a crime-suppression effect of immigrant concentration on crime rates even in areas marked by concentrated disadvantage (Lee et al., 2001; Nielsen et al., 2005; Sampson et al., 2005).
Reviews of DMC Research
A number of assessments over the years make it clear that minority youth are disproportionately represented in the system. Several recent careful reviews, in particular, have found that “race matters” beyond the characteristics of an offense. One recent major assessment that took stock of 72 quantitative studies of DMC had three major results (Cohen et al., 2011). First, it found that the vast majority of studies (82 percent) found some race effect that disadvantaged minority youth relative to white youth. Second, the evidence for race effects was greatest at earlier stages of the process, particularly at the stages of arrest, referral to court, and placement in secure detention. Third, although black youth are most likely to be disadvantaged, this is not uniformly the case and similar patterns tend to emerge for Hispanic youth as well.
Their review covered studies conducted in 2002-2010 on the official processing of minority youth at nine different decision points in the juvenile justice system (arrest, court referral, delinquency findings, detention, diversion, petition/charge filings, probation, secure confinement, and transfer to adult court). (Note: some decision points have been more intensively studied than others; i.e., arrest has been less thoroughly studied than the secure confinement decision and white-black disparities have been studied more often than others.) The analysis shows that the majority of reviewed studies indicated some race effects in the processing of minority youth, with the majority of those studies reporting mixed results (for some minority youth or at some processing points but not others). Black males were more likely to receive harsh treatment than females or whites, and minority youth, on average, were more likely to receive harsh treatment for certain but not all offenses. At the same time, the analysis also indicates a lower race effect in formal court processing, adjudication, and postadjudication.
In nearly all juvenile justice systems youth of color also remain in the system longer than white youth. From 2002 to 2004, although black youth accounted for approximately 17 percent of the youth population,