Statistical Briefing Book > Special Topics: Racial and Ethnic Fairness Previous Page
Racial and Ethnic Fairness
In 2017, cases involving minority youth were 50% more likely to be referred to juvenile court for a delinquency offense than were cases involving white youth, but the level of disproportionality varied by offense and point of contact with the juvenile justice system.

Ratio of rates1 between minority youth and white youth by decision point and offense, 2017

Decision
point
All
delinquency
offenses
Violent
Crime
Index*
Robbery Aggravated
assault
Simple
assault
Property
Crime
Index*
Burglary Larceny Drug
offenses
Public
order
Referral rate 1.5 3.0 7.9 2.5 1.6 1.7 2.0 1.4 0.9 1.6
Diversion rate 0.7 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.7
Detention rate 1.5 1.2 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.4 1.3 1.4 1.7 1.4
Petition rate 1.2 1.1 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.0 1.2 1.1 1.1
Adjudicated rate 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 0.9 1.0 1.0
Probation rate 0.9 0.9 0.9 0.9 1.0 0.9 0.9 1.0 1.0 1.0
Placement rate 1.5 1.3 1.1 1.3 1.2 1.4 1.4 1.3 1.6 1.5
Waiver rate 1.5 1.2 0.8 1.4 1.2 1.1 1.1 1.0 1.4 1.2

1 The ratio of rates is created by dividing the minority rates by the white rate.
The ratio of rates compares the rates of each minority group to white youth. A ratio of 1.0 indicates statistical parity, i.e., the rates for the comparison groups are equal. For example, if white youth and minority youth were referred at the same rate, the ratio would be 1.0, indicating the rates for these groups are equal. When the ratio exceeds 1.0, the rate for the minority group exceeds the rate for white youth; when it is below 1.0, the rate for minority youth is less than the rate for white youth.

Minority youth includes black, Hispanic, American IndiaNAlaskan Native, and Asian/Hawaiian/Pacific Islander youth.

* Violent Crime Index includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault; Property Crime Index includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson.

  • The juvenile robbery referral rate for cases involving minority youth was nearly 8 times the rate for cases involving non-Hispanic white youth in 2017.
  • Across offenses, cases involving minority youth were less likely to be diverted than cases involving white youth.
  • With the exception of robbery, cases involving minority youth were more likely to be detained than cases involving white youth.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: https://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/special_topics/qa11603.asp?qaDate=2017. Released on April 23, 2019.

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/].