African American overrepresentation in the juvenile justice system has been increasing since the late 1970s. Most scholars have acknowledged that the "War on drugs" has played some role in the increase presence of African American youth in the juvenile justice system. In the present research, we use an interpretation of the symbolic threat thesis that emphasizes perceptions of decision-makers and racial stereotyping to examine the individual and joint effects of race and drugs on intake decision making. A sample of youth referred to juvenile court in four jurisdictions in the state of Iowa is used to test whether the probabilities of African American youth receiving more severe outcomes is enhanced in cases involving drug offenses. The findings have implications for expanding our understanding of when race matters in justice outcomes.
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference
©2003 by the University of Northern Iowa
University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA
Young, John; Miller, Avery; and Leiber, Michael J.
"Race, Drugs, and Juvenile Justice Decision-Making,"
Conference Proceedings: Undergraduate Social Science Research Conference: Vol. 7:
1, Article 60.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/csbsproceedings/vol7/iss1/60