The current research study examines the relationship between race, ethnicity, and offense type on three stages of juvenile court outcomes (i.e., petition, adjudication, and disposition). In the past, research has focused on the prevalence of disproportionate minority contact, especially when it comes to disparities found in sanctioning outcomes of Black and White juveniles. However, prior research included Hispanic youth, despite being one of the largest growing ethnicity groups in the United States. The current study also examines whether juveniles charged with drug offenses are treated more severely when compared to juveniles charged with a person, property, and other offenses, to investigate the possible continuance of the War on Drugs and the effect it may have on the juvenile justice system. Through various logistic regression models based on data from a Northeastern state from the years 2004-2014, the study confirmed disparities among the court outcomes for White, Black, and Hispanic juveniles. Differences were also found when looking at juveniles charged with drug offenses versus those charged with a person, property, and other offenses. Last, the race and ethnicity of the juvenile charged with a drug offense also influenced juvenile court outcomes. Further research into the impact of race, ethnicity, and offense type on court processing is necessary to shape policy and programs to better ensure fair and equal treatment in the juvenile justice system.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Peck, Jennifer


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Criminal Justice



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

5 years

Release Date