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Which Substance and What Community? Differences in Juvenile Disposition Severity

Terry-McElrath YM, McBride DC, Ruel E, Harwood EM, VanderWaal CJ and Chaloupka FJ. Crime and Delinquency, 51(4): 548-572, 2005.

There is a need in the literature for research describing disposition severity differences between specific drug and alcohol law violations within the context of community characteristics. We conducted an exploratory study of prosecutor-reported juvenile disposition severity by both specific drug charge and community context using a national sample of prosecutors from communities surrounding schools participating in the nationally representative Monitoring the Future survey. Results indicated (a) strong within- and between-substance disposition severity variance as well as (b) evidence for differential effects of both prosecutor case load and community characteristics, including community income, ethnicity, and region.

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