Incapacitating the Innocent
An Investigation of Legal and Extralegal Factors Associated with the Preadjudicatory Detention of Juveniles
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The purpose of this study was to identify the factors associated with the utilization of preadjudicatory detention among juveniles in the United States. Specifically, this study identified: (a) the philosophical basis associated with the utilization of the preadjudicatory detention of juveniles, (b) the legal origins of the preadjudicatory detention of juveniles, (c) a number of theoretical perspectives associated with the use of preadjudicatory detention of juveniles, and (d) whether legal (i.e., prior record, offense, etc.) or extralegal factors (i.e., race, gender, etc.) were associated with the detention of juveniles in the juvenile justice system.
The study utilized a quantitative method design in which secondary data were employed. A total of 7,135 juveniles were analyzed from secondary data gathered by the United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics in 1998. Various types of statistical analysis (bivariate cross-tabulation, binary logistic regression) provided clarification and differentiation concerning factors associated with the preadjudicatory detention of juveniles.
With respect to extralegal factors, the results from this study indicate that race was associated with the detention of juveniles. Specifically, African American juveniles were likely to experience preadjudicatory detention. The results also reveal that certain legal factors were associated with the preadjudicatory detention of juveniles. For instance, a juvenile's relationship with the juvenile court at the time of intake and the juvenile's prior arrest record were associated with preadjudicatory detention. In addition, the juvenile's total number of charges as well as the specific charges of burglary, robbery and assault were associated with the preadjudicatory detention of the juvenile. This study underscores the need for creating and developing objective assessment tools during the intake process for juveniles. Future investigative studies should include the attitudes of certain legal practitioners and the use of qualitative data when researching juvenile court decisions.
About the Author
Patrick R. Webb is a native of Baytown and a seventh generation Texan. He enrolled at Lamar University in 1989 on an athletic scholarship and graduated with a baccalaureate degree in 1994. He continued his education by earning a master's degree from Prairie View A&M University in 1998, followed by a Ph.D. in 2008. He served as a faculty member with Lamar University, University of Houston-Downtown, and Lone Star College. Dr. Webb has taught a considerable amount of undergraduate courses within the disciplines of Sociology and Criminal Justice. Dr. Webb's areas of professional interest include ethics, psychology, juvenile delinquency prevention, statistics, as well as management and constitutional law. He has authored a number of scholarly articles and editorials, including publications in the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Journal of Youth Violence, Juvenile Delinquency, and International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences. He has received a number of academic honors including recognition for his research as a doctoral student. He has served in a variety of community-related efforts and is a frequent public speaker and consultant. He enjoys spending time with his family, physical exercise, and Christian-based writing.