Date of Award

9-15-2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Criminology

First Advisor

Alida V. Merlo, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Kathleen J. Hanrahan, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Erika D. Frenzel, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

John A. Lewis, Ph.D.

Abstract

The current study addressed the issues of gender and racial differences in judicial waiver decisions in one state. The study provides an examination of existing juvenile justice research, and augments a neglected area of research regarding girls and judicial waiver. The present research examines the variables that influence the judicial waiver decision for girls and explores the differences between girls and boys who were judicially waived to adult court. This study analyzed Arizona Juvenile Court data from 1994 through 2000. Through the use of logistic regression, three general research questions were tested. These research questions explore the differences between girls and boys who were judicially waived to adult court, the differences between girls who were judicially waived and girls who were not, and the effect that Arizona legislation (Proposition 102) had on girls and minority youth. The results indicated that both legal and extra legal factors influenced the decision to judicially waive youth in Arizona. Of particular importance were the effects of age and the number of prior referrals. Contrary to previous research, neither gender nor race was a significant predictor of judicial waiver. The current findings provide a fairly complex portrait of the effects of several variables on judicial waiver. The variables that were tested in this study suggest that increased delinquency prevention programs, such as truancy prevention and increased counseling services for girls, are warranted. The findings also indicate that future research about the transfer of girls to adult court is needed in order to attempt to understand fully the variables that influence judicial waiver.

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