Graduate Student Dissertations, Theses, Capstones, and Portfolios

Date of Award


Document Type


Granting Institution

Lynn University

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Lori Ronan-Khessali

Second Advisor

Jaime Castallano

Third Advisor

Adam L. Kosnitzky


This study examined the effect of gender, ethnicity, and instant offense on two decision stages—adjudication and disposition—of juvenile justice court case processing in Broward County, Florida from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2000. Research findings regarding the processing of youth by the juvenile justice system in different jurisdictions have been mixed; however, inequities occur in some jurisdictions but not in others and occur at some decision points but not other decision points. The study is important to determine if Broward County, Florida is engaging in gender and ethnicity disproportionate minority representation and inequities during the adjudication and disposition stages of juvenile case processing.

A quantitative methodological approach and logistic regression procedures were used to analyze six research questions and related hypotheses. The 7,713 records of a total of 13,735 juvenile cases for January 1, 2000 to December 31,2000 examined were obtained from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice Institutional Review Board. A simple random sampling of 3,492 cases was selected for the analysis. At the adjudication stage, more African Americans were found guilty (59%) than Caucasians (46%), and Hispanics (53%). A larger proportion of males (60%) were found guilty than females (42%). Juveniles charged with a misdemeanor (60%) were more likely to be found not guilty than were those charged with a felony (24%). At the disposition stage, a larger proportion of female juveniles (93%) received intermediate sanctions than did male juveniles (83%). Juveniles charged with misdemeanors (95%) were more likely to receive intermediate sanctions than were juveniles charged with felonies (78%). No differences in ethnicity were found for intermediate sanctions or commitment; no differences in gender were found for commitment.

Based on the findings, gender, ethnicity, and instant offense affected juvenile court cases at the adjudication stage and gender and instant offense affected juvenile cases at the disposition stage in Broward County, Florida in 2001. Quantitative findings show indications of race, gender, and instant offense differentials in juvenile court cases processing.



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