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Entangled Effects of Race and Urban Poverty

NCJ Number
Juvenile and Family Court Journal Volume: 49 Issue: 2 Dated: Spring 1998 Pages: 41-53
B Wu; A I Fuentes
Date Published
13 pages
Data from 2,003 cases referred to 13 urban Ohio juvenile courts in 1989 were used to examine the issue of how race and urban poverty affect minority overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system.
The 13 jurisdictions contained 90 percent of Ohio's nonwhite youth population and accounted for about 80 percent of the officially referred delinquent cases in 1980. The cases were selected by means of stratified random sampling based on sex and race; 75.6 percent of the youths were males, 51.7 percent were white, 46.5 percent were black, and 1.8 percent were other races, compared to statewide percentages of 51 percent male and 12.9 percent black for youths ages 7-18 years. Results of logistic regression analyses revealed that minority offenders were more likely to be detained than were white offenders, detention status increases juvenile' chances of being adjudicated and confined, and minority juvenile who are from welfare families are more likely to be confined than are their self-sustaining counterparts. Findings suggested that a cultural stereotype based on juveniles' race and class forms the basis of differential handling. Tables and 41 references (Author abstract modified)