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

Aleksis P. Kincaid, Amanda L. Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


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)
JournalRemedial and Special Education
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019



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

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