Where are all the white kids?: the effects of race in juvenile court decision making



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Texas A&M University


Statistics consistently show that minorities are overrepresented at each level of the juvenile justice system. However, while Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in the juvenile justice system is well documented, the cause is still unclear. Some have suggested that DMC is simply the result of disproportionate amounts of crime committed by minority youth, while others claim that racism, be it overt, subtle, individual or institutional, plays a significant role in DMC. Observation of juvenile court proceedings and interviews with juvenile court judges and lawyers, each coded for content analysis, were used to determine the effects of race in juvenile court decision making. In this research, I suggest that race plays a significant, yet subtle role as personal beliefs, political necessities and motives of both professional participants in the system and political and community civic leaders, result in racial stratification established within a racialized social framework.