Funder: Washington State Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice
Principal Investigator: Trupin, Eric, Ph.D.
Co-Investigators:Pullmann, Michael, Ph.D.
Research Coordinator: Starcia Ague, B.A.
Consultant: Walker, Sarah, Ph.D.
Abstract: This project is an assessment of juvenile Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC) in select jurisdictions in Washington State. In collaboration with the Washington Partnership Council on Juvenile Justice (WA-PCJJ) and select counties, the University of Washington will examine the levels of and reasons for DMC at key decision points in the justice system, such as arrest, court processing, diversion, secure confinement, and transfer to adult court. This project combines court and local data with input from state and local stakeholders to determine, for each of 12 localities, the priority decision points to study and the mechanisms by which DMC may occur. This research will inform strategic decision making for reducing DMC and will establish data collection protocols and recommendations for ensuring a complete and ongoing assessment of DMC.
Goal: Within the constraints of data availability, this assessment will result in the determination of why there is overrepresentation of minorities, including the viewpoints of diverse stakeholders and data-based input, and provide specific strategies for the reduction of DMC.
Generating explanations and prioritizing areas for study. The assessment will proceed in two phases. Phase 1 will include 8 jurisdictions which have taken part in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative. Phase 2 will include an additional 5 jurisdictions. Using local and state reports (e.g. WA-PCJJ, Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, police, court) and county-level Relative Rate Indexes (RRIs, which specify the decision points where specific minority groups significantly differ from non-Hispanic Caucasians), we will outline the existence of and possible reasons for DMC in each jurisdiction. This information will inform the development of brief semi-structured telephone interviews and/or web-based surveys with stakeholders. In light of RRIs, they will be asked to identify priority decision points of DMC, including points of police contact, arrest, referral to court, intake diversion, detention, petition, adjudication, judicial disposition, probation, secure confinement, and transfer to adult court. For each area they prioritize, they will choose or generate possible mechanisms, including mobility effects, indirect effects, differential opportunity effects, geography, and others as outlined by OJJDP and current research.
Analysis: OJJDP reports and other analyses have outlined the pattern of results which are consistent with, or rule out, possible mechanisms underlying DMC. Our analyses will closely follow these guidelines, focusing on the priority decision points and mechanisms obtained from stakeholders and RRI indices. Our analyses will also build multivariate statistical models of the decision point “event” (e.g. referred, diverted, transfer to adult court, etc.) by race, while also examining the impact of other possibly important factors such as gender, type of crime, past charges, and community characteristics to the degree these data are readily available. Hence, multiple explanations can be simultaneously tested.
Reports and Presentations:
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