|Racial and Ethnic Fairness
|Among juvenile court stages, the referral decision typically shows the largest disparity between white and minority youth.
* The ratio of rates is created by dividing the rates for each racial or ethnic minority group by the white rate. A ratio of 1.0 indicates parity, i.e., the rates for the comparison group are equal. For example, if white youth and Black youth were referred at the same rate, the ratio would be 1.0, indicating the rates for these groups are equal. A ratio greater than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial or ethnic minority group is greater than the rate for white youth. A ratio less than 1.0 means that the rate for the racial and ethnic minority group is less than the rate for white youth.
Racial/ethnic minority youth includes Black, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Asian/Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander youth.
It is important to note that 2020 was the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which may have impacted policies, procedures, and data collection activities regarding referrals to and processing of youth by juvenile courts. Additionally, stay-at-home orders and school closures likely impacted the volume and type of law-violating behavior by youth referred to juvenile court in 2020.
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- Since 2005, cases involving racial/ethnic minority youth were 50-70% more likely to be referred to juvenile court than cases involving white youth.
- The ratio of detention rates between cases involving racial/ethnic minority youth and cases involving white youth has changed little since 2005, hovering between 1.3 and 1.5 annually.
- Since 2005, cases involving racial/ethnic minority youth were 30%-50% more likely to result in a placement disposition than cases involving white youth.
- Since 2006, cases involving racial/ethnic minority youth were more likely to be judicially waived to criminal court than cases involving white youth.
Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/special_topics/qa11602.asp?qaDate=2020.
Released on January 10, 2023.
Data Source: Adapted from Easy Access to Juvenile Populations [https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezapop/] and Easy Access to Juvenile Court Statistics [https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/ezajcs/].
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