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date: 14 November 2018

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses racial and ethnic differences in delinquency and justice system responses. It begins by reviewing national data on the minority presence in the juvenile justice system from arrest to post dispositional confinement. It then examines research bearing on the “differential offending” thesis. Following this, the article reviews the research literature on race bias in justice processing. The reviews reflect that overall assessment states that racial disparities in processing are attributable in part to differences in offending; yet race differences in offending alone are insufficient to account for minority over-representation in the juvenile justice system. Also, there is some truth to both the “differential offending” and “differential treatment” arguments. Finally, the article attempts to explore implications for justice policy in a preliminary way.

Keywords: racial disparities, ethnic differences, delinquency, justice system, post dispositional confinement, differential offending thesis

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