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Exploring Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System Over the Year Following First Arrest

NCJ Number
Journal of Research on Adolescence Volume: 31 Issue: 2 Dated: 2021 Pages: 317-334
Date Published
18 pages

In this study, 1,216 adolescents were examined after first arrest to explore associations between race and history of self-reported offending, likelihood of formal processing, and likelihood of rearrest.


Minority youth are disproportionately represented in the juvenile justice system. Examining how racial disparities relate to biased entry into and continued involvement with the system, while accounting for past and current offending, can provide context about the mechanisms behind overrepresentation. The current study found that Black youth committed fewer offenses prior to arrest than White youth; Black and Latino youth were more likely to be formally processed; and Black youth were most likely to be rearrested (even controlling for post-baseline offending), highlighting that minority youth are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system despite similar or lower levels of criminal behavior. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2021