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 actorsâ€”court-designated workers,county-appointed
attorneys,and police administratorsâ€”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.
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