Journal of Social Sciences

Juvenile Court Dispositions in the Deep South: Examining the Concept of Justice by Geography

Bret Blackmon, Daphne S. Cain and Michelle Livermore

DOI : 10.3844/jssp.2015.82.90

Journal of Social Sciences

Volume 11, Issue 2

Pages 82-90


The concept of justice by geography suggests that sentencing decisions in the juvenile justice system are influenced by the geographical context of the courts. This study sought to examine this phenomenon by examining rates of harsh juvenile sentencing (dispositions) in 64 parishes (i.e., counties) in the Deep South using parish-level characteristics such as geographic location (urban/suburban vs. rural), race and poverty. A multivariate regression analysis revealed that places with high poverty rates experienced significantly higher harsh disposition rates than those with less poverty. Other measured parish characteristics were unrelated and thus, the justice by geography concept was not supported. Implications for juvenile justice policy and future research are discussed.


© 2015 Bret Blackmon, Daphne S. Cain and Michelle Livermore. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.