Parity or Disparity? Outcomes of Court-Involved Youth With and Without Disabilities

Aleksis P. Kincaid, Amanda L. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Youth with disabilities are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, but few studies have investigated the mechanisms by which this occurs. In this study, we considered how juvenile court adjudication and length of commitment in secure facilities contributed to disproportionality in court involvement and detention, addressing an important gap in the intersection of disability and juvenile justice literature. Using linked educational and juvenile justice records of 41,812 youth, we sought to ascertain whether, among juvenile offenders, youth with disabilities had higher likelihood of adjudication as delinquent or placement in secure facilities for longer periods of time compared to youth without disabilities. Results indicated that youth with and without disabilities were adjudicated and placed similarly, suggesting that disparities contributing to overrepresentation of youth with disabilities in detained populations may manifest earlier in youths’ involvement in the justice system. We conclude with implications for research, policy, and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)368-377
Number of pages10
JournalRemedial and Special Education
Volume41
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Kincaid Aleksis P. PhD 1 Sullivan Amanda L. PhD 1 1 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA Aleksis P. Kincaid, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota, 250 Education Science, 56 East River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. Email: akincaid@umn.edu 11 2019 0741932519887502 © Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2019 2019 Hammill Institute on Disabilities Youth with disabilities are overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, but few studies have investigated the mechanisms by which this occurs. In this study, we considered how juvenile court adjudication and length of commitment in secure facilities contributed to disproportionality in court involvement and detention, addressing an important gap in the intersection of disability and juvenile justice literature. Using linked educational and juvenile justice records of 41,812 youth, we sought to ascertain whether, among juvenile offenders, youth with disabilities had higher likelihood of adjudication as delinquent or placement in secure facilities for longer periods of time compared to youth without disabilities. Results indicated that youth with and without disabilities were adjudicated and placed similarly, suggesting that disparities contributing to overrepresentation of youth with disabilities in detained populations may manifest earlier in youths’ involvement in the justice system. We conclude with implications for research, policy, and practice. special education disabilities disproportionality juvenile court juvenile justice adjudication sentencing National Science Foundation https://doi.org/10.13039/100000001 SMA1338489 edited-state corrected-proof Associate Editor: Bryan Cook Declaration of Conflicting Interests The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Funding The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation (SMA1338489) provided through the Minnesota Linking Information for Kids (MinnLInK) project.

Keywords

  • adjudication
  • disabilities
  • disproportionality
  • juvenile court
  • juvenile justice
  • sentencing
  • special education

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