refer to those situations in which evidence suggests that extralegal or illegitimate factors are the cause of disparate justice system outcomes.

Chapter Organization

Detailed information on patterns and trends in offending has been described earlier in this volume. This chapter is designed to bring together divergent streams of research and scholarly discourse in an attempt to highlight some key issues and to move the field ahead by suggesting useful and potentially useful ways of thinking about race, ethnicity, juvenile crime, and the juvenile justice system in the future. The chapter is divided into three major parts. The first part of this chapter briefly reviews the extent of the racial disparity in the juvenile justice system. The chapter then considers the evidence for racial disparity in the delinquent behavior of youth as well as evidence of bias in the juvenile justice system. The second part of the chapter introduces the concept of compound risk and illustrates how small differences in the treatment of juveniles at one point in the process may have enduring and powerful effects later on, as the youth progresses or does not progress through the juvenile justice system. The third part of the chapter describes promising directions for future research that may prove useful and productive to the field. In the last part of the chapter are the panel's specific recommendations for research and policy.


Although black youth represented approximately 15 percent of the U.S. population ages 10-17 in 1997, they represented 26 percent of all juvenile arrests, 30 percent of delinquency referrals to juvenile court, 45 percent of preadjudication decisions, 33 percent of petitioned delinquency cases, 46 percent of cases judicially waived to adult criminal court, and 40 percent of juveniles in public long-term institutions (see Figure 6-1). Thus, the proportion of blacks under the supervision of the juvenile or adult criminal justice systems is more than double their proportion in the general population.

In a report produced for the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Hamparian, Leiber, and colleagues (1997) described the extent of disproportionate minority confinement of juveniles in state facilities. The report focused on six decision points (arrest, secure detention, confinement in secure juvenile correctional facilities, in adult jails, and in adult lockups, and transfer to criminal court), using state data from the late 1980s and early 1990s. Table 6-1 presents findings on the over-

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