Date of Award

8-2015

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

First Advisor

Ngoc Phan, Ph.D.

Advisor Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

The objective of this study is to empirically test for black youth overrepresentation at the initial contact (arrest) stage of the juvenile justice system. In 2002, an amendment was made to the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 which called for states to monitor disproportionate minority contact at all levels of the juvenile justice system. Arrest data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics has been gathered to determine the rate and percentage at which black youth are arrested compared to white youth. More so, youth population statistics are acquired from the U.S. Census and are converted to percentages. Black youth arrest and population percentage will be compared to determine the mean of overrepresentation. To measure implementation of policy, observation of community-based detention alternatives are analyzed. This study analyzes seven cities in Mississippi: Jackson, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Southaven, Biloxi, Meridian, and Tupelo. Based on policy implementation theory, I hypothesized that as implementation of policy decreases, rates of overrepresentation will increase. This study finds that every city analyzed displays trends of overrepresentation across time.

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