Source: (2002) Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice. 18(1):20-36.

This research examined the reported effect of legal and nonlegal factors on those who actually make decisions about juvenile diversion. Previous researchers have analyzed the outcomes of recorded decisions made in the official justice process,with special attention paid to the effects of legal and extralegal variables on juvenile diversion decisions. However,little attention has been given to howthe key players explain the influence of these factors on decision-making processes in the juvenile justice system. These actors—court-designated workers,county-appointed attorneys,and police administrators—significantly affect the outcomes of the diversion decision. This research attempts to fill in gaps left by earlier research between howthe process is supposed towork in legislation and previously observed differences with regard to the effect of legal and extralegal factors on recorded outcomes. It is suggested that process-related factors should be examined to strengthen the understanding of how diversion decision making is achieved. These results are particularly significant in a time of increasing calls for get-tough and zero-tolerance policies with regard to even minor juvenile infractions.