A Life Table Approach to Estimating Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System


Disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in the U.S. juvenile justice system persists despite substantial efforts to reduce it. The juvenile justice system is comprised of a series of interconnected stages, yet few studies to-date use methods to measure DMC that take the cascading nature of the decision-making process into account. Our study addresses this gap by applying life table analysis to identify the cumulative nature of DMC across multiple stages of the juvenile justice system using data from 2008 to 2010 in Georgia that include white, black, and Hispanic/Latino youth. We then compare these state-level results to life tables from a national sample of black youth and a subnational sample of Hispanic/Latino youth. Our findings show that arrest/referral accounts for the greatest proportion of total system-wide DMC for black youth, but most of the total DMC for Hispanic/Latino youth results from later stages.

Justice Quarterly, (35), 2, pp. 330–355, https://doi.org/10.1080/07418825.2017.1315163
Mathew E. Hauer
Mathew E. Hauer
Assistant Professor of Sociology

My research interests include demography, migration, and climate change.