GENDER BIAS IN THE DISPOSITION OF JUVENILE COURT REFERRALS: THE EFFECTS OF TIME AND LOCATION

DAVID R. JOHNSON, LAURIE K. SCHEUBLE

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55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Theory based on sex role traditionalism predicts a more punishing decision for female than for male offenders, while theory based on chivalry (paternalism) predicts greater leniency by the courts for female offenders. This paper tests these two models using a large sample (36,680) of juvenile court referrals in metropolitan, urban, and rural locations spanning a nine‐year period. Nonparametric analysis of covariance is used to control for differences in offense, previous contact with the court system, and other background variables. Evidence of gender bias in dispositions was found. The patterns of bias across time, location, offense committed, and previous referral to the court system supports the persistence of chivalry and a decline in sex role traditionalism in court decisions. Greater punishment for girls than boys was found only for repeat offenders committing more serious offenses. Even in those cases, girls were more likely to be taken out of the home environment by the courts through a custody transfer while boys were more likely to be sent to a lock‐up facility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)677-699
Number of pages23
JournalCriminology
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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