Date of Award

Spring 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Allison Chappell

Committee Member

Scott Maggard

Committee Member

Victoria Time

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 G42 2011


This research examines disproportionate minority contact (DMC) in a court service unit (CSU) in Virginia which has been implementing the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) program since 2005. Using three years of intake data, the study also explores the impact of race and gender on the likelihood of receiving pre-dispositional secure detention. Finally, using intersectionality theory, the study analyzes the joint impact of being non-white and female on the pre-dispositional detention outcome. In this CSU, non-whites were found to be overrepresented in secure detention indicating the presence of DMC. In the multivariate model, race was not found to be a significant predictor of pre-dispositional juvenile detention, but gender was significantly related to the detention decision. The interaction of race and gender was not found to significantly predict the detention decision. Germane policy implications are discussed as well as limitations and directions for future research.


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