Ethnic differences in the juvenile justice system have received much attention in the sociological literature. Using Israeli data, this article explores the differences between Arabs and Jews with regard to the decision to close juvenile criminal files rather than to prosecute. Three hypotheses are tested. The first argues that differential outcomes are the result of group differences in social background characteristics. The second argues that differential outcomes are the result of group differences in crime seriousness and the degree of previous involvement in crime. The third hypothesis examines whether different criteria are applied to different ethnic groups in the decision-making process of file termination. The findings of the study provide evidence that different criteria are applied in the decision to close a file. The findings, however, are limited to less serious crimes (property offenses), probably because with these offenses law enforcement officers have more discretion than with serious crimes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology