Explaining Variation in Juvenile Punishment : The Role of Communities and Systems book cover
1st Edition

Explaining Variation in Juvenile Punishment
The Role of Communities and Systems

  • Available for pre-order on December 19, 2022. Item will ship after January 9, 2023
ISBN 9781032038155
January 9, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
214 Pages

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Book Description

This research monograph provides a comparative analysis of juvenile court outcomes, exploring the influence of contextual factors on juvenile punishment across systems and communities. In doing so, it investigates whether, how, and to what extent macro-social context influences variation in juvenile punishment. The contextual hypotheses under investigation evaluate three prominent macro-sociall theoretical approaches: the conflict-oriented perspective of community threat, the consensus-oriented perspective of social disorganization, and the organizational perspective of the political economy of the juvenile court.

Using multilevel modeling techniques, the study investigates these macro-social influences on juvenile justice outcomes across nearly 500 counties in seven states—Alabama, Connecticut, Missouri, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. Findings suggest that the contextual indicators under investigation did not explain variation in juvenile court punishment across communities and systems, and the study proposes several implications for future research and policy.

This monograph is essential reading for scholars of juvenile justice system impact and reform as well as practitioners engaged in youth policy and juvenile justice work. It is unique in taking a comparative perspective that acknowledges that there is no one juvenile justice system in the United States, but many such systems.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Context of Juvenile Punishment

The Present Study
Book Overview

Chapter 1: The Mission and History of Juvenile Justice

Origins of Juvenile Justice
The First Juvenile Court
Child Saving: The Interventionist Vision of Juvenile Justice
The Failure of the Interventionist Vision
The Due Process Revolution
The Criminalization of Juvenile Justice
A More Punitive Juvenile Court
The Developmental Turn: Juvenile Justice in the Twenty-First Century

Chapter 2: The Contemporary Structure of Juvenile Justice

Juvenile Referrals
Preadjudication Detention
Intake and Petition of Delinquency
Waiver to Criminal Court
Adjudication of Delinquency
Judicial Disposition
State Variation in Juvenile Justice Processing

Chapter 3: Why Might Context Matter? Theoretical Perspectives on Juvenile Justice

Theoretical Frameworks for Juvenile Justice
Contextual Theories of Juvenile Justice

Chapter 4: Exploring the Influence of Community Characteristics: A Review of the Literature

Minority Threat
Economic Threat
Other Contextual Characteristics

Chapter 5: Data, Methods, and Analytical Approach

Research Hypotheses
Data and Sample
Analytical Strategy

Chapter 6: Multistate Findings, 2010

Variation in Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Contextual Effects
Summary of Findings

Chapter 7: Multistate Results, 2000

Variation in Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Contextual Effects
Summary of Findings

Chapter 8: State-Specific Results

County-Level Variation in Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Contextual Effects
Summary of Findings

Chapter 9: Does Context Matter? Discussing the Findings

Summary of Findings
State Variation in Juvenile Justice Outcomes
Study Limitations
Interpretation of Findings

Chapter 10: Implications for Research and Policy

Implications for Research
Implications for Policy
Concluding Thoughts


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Steven N. Zane, Ph.D., J.D., is an assistant professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University. He received his Ph.D. from Northeastern University and his J.D. from Boston College Law School. His research focuses on juvenile justice, racial disparities, and evidence-based social policy, and has appeared in Criminology & Public Policy, JAMA Network Open, Journal of Criminal Justice, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Justice Quarterly, and Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice.