Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Criminology and Criminal Justice
Dr. Cassia Spohn
Although most research shows that the primary determinants of sentencing outcomes are the legally relevant factors such as the seriousness of the offense and prior criminal record, there is a substantial body of research examining the relationship between extra-legal factors (e.g. race, age, and gender), and sentencing outcomes. Most studies focus on direct effects of extra-legal factors on juvenile justice decision making rather than the interactions among them. The present study pursued two main goals: (1) testing the direct effects of age, gender, and race/ethnicity on juvenile justice decision making across four racial groups, and (2) exploring the interactive effects of three extra-legal variables on juvenile justice decisions. Regarding the direct effects of three extra-legal factors on outcomes, consistent with the previous studies, this study found that non-white youths were treated more harshly than white youths at the detention, petition, and disposition stages of the process. In addition, female youths were treated more leniently than male youths at petition and disposition decisions. On the other hand, the results regarding the effect of age were inconsistent. With regard to the interactive effects of age, and race/ethnicity on juvenile justice decisions using the disaggregated data by gender, older black males were treated more harshly than the other age-race categories at petition and disposition decisions. Moreover, younger white females were treated more leniently than the other age-race categories at the petition decision. Finally, this study reveals that older black males were treated more harshly than the other age-gender-race/ethnicity categories at the petition and disposition decisions.
Kwak, Dae-Hoon, "The Interaction of Age, Gender, and Race/Ethnicity on Juvenile Justice Decision Making in Nebraska: The Comparisons of White, Black, Hispanic, and Native American" (2004). Student Work. 2194.