Race and Social Problems

, 1:218 | Cite as

Racial Disparities in Early Criminal Justice Involvement

  • Robert D. Crutchfield
  • Martie L. Skinner
  • Kevin P. Haggerty
  • Anne McGlynn
  • Richard F. Catalano
Article

Abstract

Criminologists have long reported the existence of racial disparity in the criminal justice system, but the important question is why. While some argue that observed differences are a consequence of more criminal behavior among minorities, the weight of the evidence indicates that this is but a partial explanation. In this paper, we study data from a sample of juveniles to examine how racial differences in early police contact, and important social environments—family, school, and neighborhoods—affect later contact and arrests, controlling for self-reported delinquency. We find that early (in middle school) contact with police is an important predictor of later (high school) arrests. Also we found that, in addition to being male and living in a low-income family, children who have parents who have a history of arrest, who have experienced school disciplinary actions, who have delinquent peers, and who are in networks with deviant adults are more likely to have problems with law enforcement. These factors help to explain racial differences in police contacts and arrests.

Keywords

Race disparity Police contacts Environment 

References

  1. Anderson, E. (1999). Code of the street: Decency, violence, and the moral life of the inner city. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  2. Beckett, K., Nyrop, K., & Pfingst, L. (2006). Race, drugs, and policing: understanding disparities in drug delivery arrests. Criminology, 44, 105–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Black, D. J. (1976). The behavior of law. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  4. Black, D. J., & Reiss, A. J., Jr. (1970). Police control of juveniles. American Sociological Review, 35, 63–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Blumstein, A. (1982). On the racial disproportionality of United States’ prison populations. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 73, 1259–1281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bridges, G. S., Crutchfield, R. D., & Simpson, E. E. (1987). Crime, social structure and criminal punishment: White and nonwhite rates of imprisonment. Social Problems, 34, 345–361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brody, G. H., Ge, X., Conger, R., Gibbons, F. X., McBride Murry, V., Gerrard, M., et al. (2001). The influence of neighborhood disadvantage, collective socialization, and parenting on African American children’s affiliation with deviant peers. Child Development, 72, 1231–1246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bursik, R. J., Jr., & Grasmick, H. G. (1993). Neighborhoods and crime. New York: Lexington.Google Scholar
  9. Charles, C. Z. (2003). The dynamics of racial residential segregation. Annual Review of Sociology, 29, 167–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Corsaro, W. A., & Eder, D. (1990). Children’s peer cultures. Annual Review of Sociology, 16, 197–220.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crutchfield, R. D., Bridges, G. S., & Pitchford, S. R. (1994). Analytical and aggregation biases in analyses of imprisonment: Reconciling discrepancies in studies of racial disparity. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 31, 166–182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crutchfield, R. D., Skinner, M. L., Haggerty, K. P., McGlynn, A., & Catalano, R. F. (2009). Racial disparity in police contacts. Manuscript submitted for publication.Google Scholar
  13. Eitle, T. M., & Eitle, D. J. (2004). Inequality, segregation, and the overrepresentation of African Americans in school suspensions. Sociological Perspectives, 47, 269–287.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Elliott, D. S. (1994). Youth violence: An overview. Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.Google Scholar
  15. Finkelhor, D., & Ormrod, R. (2001). OJJDP Juvenile Justice Bulletin: Homicides of children and youth. Rockville, MD: US Department of Justice; Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
  16. Gordon, R., Piana, L. D., & Keleher, T. (2000). Facing the consequences: An examination of racial discrimination in US Public Schools. Oakland, CA: Applied Research Center.Google Scholar
  17. Greenwald, A. G., Oakes, M. A., & Hoffman, H. G. (2003). Targets of discrimination: Effects of race on responses to weapons holders. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 39, 399–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hamre, B. K., & Pianta, R. C. (2001). Early teacher-child relationships and the trajectory of children’s school outcomes through eighth grade. Child Development, 72, 625–638.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Harris, A. (2009). Attributions and institutional processing: Differential outcomes in juvenile justice waiver hearings. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  20. Huizinga, D., Thornberry, T. P., Knight, K. E., Lovegrove, P. J., Loeber, R., Hill, K., et al. (2007). Disproportionate minority contact in the juvenile justice system: A study of differential minority arrest/referral to court in three cities. Retrieved July 22, 2009 from http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/grants/219743.pdf.
  21. Jargowsky, P. A. (1996). Take the money and run: Economic segregation in US metropolitan areas. American Sociological Review, 61, 984–998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kirk, D. S. (2008). The neighborhood context of racial and ethnic disparities in arrest. Demography, 45, 55–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kleck, G. (1981). Racial discrimination in criminal sentencing: A critical evaluation of the evidence with additional evidence on the death penalty. American Sociological Review, 46, 783–805.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Klinger, D. A. (1997). Negotiating order in patrol work: An ecological theory of police response to deviance. Criminology, 35, 277–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Krivo, L. J., & Peterson, R. D. (1996). Extremely disadvantaged neighborhoods and urban crime. Social Forces, 75, 619–648.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Leiber, M. J., & Mack, K. Y. (2003). The individual and joint effects of race, gender, and family status on juvenile justice decision-making. Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency, 40, 34–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2000). The neighborhoods they live in: The effects of neighborhood residence on child and adolescent outcomes. Psychological Bulletin, 126, 309–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Liang, K.-Y., & Zeger, S. L. (1986). Longitudinal data analysis using generalized linear models. Biometrika, 73, 13–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lindahl, K. M. (2001). Methodological issues in family observational research. In P. K. Kerig & K. M. Lindahl (Eds.), Family observational coding systems: Resources for systemic research (pp. 23–32). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  30. Massey, D. S. (1990). American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. The American Journal of Sociology, 96, 329–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Massey, D. S., & Denton, N. A. (1993). American apartheid: Segregation and the making of the underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. McLoyd, V. C. (1990). The impact of economic hardship on black families and children: Psychological distress, parenting, and socioemotional development. Child Development, 61, 311–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Munnell, A. H., Tootell, G. M. B., Browne, L. E., & McEneaney, J. (1996). Mortgage lending in Boston: Interpreting HMDA data. American Economic Review, 86, 25–53.Google Scholar
  34. Newcomb, M. D., Abbott, R. D., Catalano, R. F., Hawkins, J. D., Battin-Pearson, S., & Hill, K. (2002). Mediational and deviance theories of late high school failure: Process roles of structural strains, academic competence, and general versus specific problem behavior. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 49, 172–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Oliver, M. L., & Shapiro, T. M. (1995). Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Peterson, R. D., & Krivo, L. J. (1999). Racial segregation, the concentration of disadvantage, and black and white homicide victimization. Sociological Forum, 14, 465–493.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Piliavin, I., & Briar, S. (1964). Police encounters with juveniles. American Journal of Sociology, 69, 206–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Platt, A. M. (1969). The child savers: The invention of juvenile delinquency. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  39. Poe-Yamagata, E., & Jones, M. A. (2000). And justice for some. Davis, CA: National Council on Crime and Delinquency.Google Scholar
  40. Ross, S. L., & Yinger, J. (2002). The color of credit: Mortgage discrimination, research methodology, and fair lending importance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  41. Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277, 918–924.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. SAS Institute. (2002). SAS/STAT Software, version 8.2: The MIANALYZE procedure (Vol. 2002). Cary, NC: SAS Institute.Google Scholar
  43. Schafer, J. L., & Graham, J. W. (2002). Missing data: Our view of the state of the art. Psychological Methods, 7, 147–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shaw, C. R., & McKay, H. D. (1942). Juvenile delinquency and urban areas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  45. Shihadeh, E. S., & Flynn, N. (1996). Segregation and crime: The effect of black social isolation on the rates of Black urban violence. Social Forces, 74, 1325–1352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Simons, R. L., Chen, Y.-F., Stewart, E. A., & Brody, G. H. (2003). Incidents of discrimination and risk for delinquency: A longitudinal test of strain theory with an African American sample. Justice Quarterly, 20, 827–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Skiba, R. J., Michael, R. S., Nardo, A. C., & Peterson, R. L. (2002). The color of discipline: Sources of racial and gender disproportionality in school punishment. Urban Review, 34, 317–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Snyder, H. N., & Sickmund, M. (2006). Juvenile offenders and victims: 2006 national report. Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.Google Scholar
  49. Spagnolo, B., DeLoach, C. M., Haggerty, K. P., Hill, K. G., Weaver-Randall, K., Catalano, R. F., et al. (2002). The social development model observational coding system. Seattle: University of Washington, Social Development Research Group.Google Scholar
  50. Stewart, E. A., Baumer, E. P., Brunson, R. K., & Simons, R. L. (2009). Neighborhood racial context and perceptions of police-based racial discrimination among black youth. Criminology, 47, 847–887.Google Scholar
  51. Straus, M. A. (1990). The conflict tactics scale and its critics: An evaluation and new data on validity and reliability. In M. A. Straus & R. J. Gelles (Eds.), Physical violence in American families: Risk factors and adaptations to violence in 8, 145 families (pp. 49–73). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  52. Sutherland, E. H. (1924). Criminology. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company.Google Scholar
  53. Wilbanks, W. (1987). The myth of a racist criminal justice system. Monterey, CA: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
  54. Williams, D. R., & Collins, C. A. (2001). Racial residential segregation: A fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Public Health Report, 116, 404–416.Google Scholar
  55. Wright, S. F. (2005). Seattle Public Schools data profile: District summary. Seattle, WA: Student Information Services Office.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert D. Crutchfield
    • 1
  • Martie L. Skinner
    • 2
  • Kevin P. Haggerty
    • 2
  • Anne McGlynn
    • 2
  • Richard F. Catalano
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Social Development Research Group, School of Social WorkUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations