who show up at the next one. Transitional probabilities for juveniles being handled formally, for example, are calculated as the proportion of delinquency cases who were handled formally in the courts, calculated separately for whites and blacks. For whites, the transitional probability of being handled formally is:

For blacks, it is:

Table 6-5 compares the transitional and compound probabilities of blacks to whites. The first column shows relative risk, which takes into account the proportions of blacks to whites. The relative risk for a black juvenile being handled formally, in relation to that for a white juvenile is the ratio of the transitional probabilities:

TABLE 6-5 Compounding of Racial Disparity in the Juvenile Justice System

Risk of:

Relative Black to White Risk

Relative Compound Black to White Risk

Being arrested



Referred to court for delinquency case



Case being handled formally



Being adjudicated delinquent or found guilty



Being put in residential placement



Source: Arrest data from Federal Bureau of Investigation (1997) andSnyder and Finnegan (1999); court and placement data from Stahl etal. (1999).

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