Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Randall Shelden

Number of Pages



Minority over-representation in the juvenile justice system is a national concern. Research in this area is limited, however, there is indication that minority over-representation, particularly of African-American youth, seems to occur at various stages of juvenile justice processing. It is my belief that once arrested, minority youth are more likely to be certified as an adult than white youth. This paper examines the certification process in Clark County, Nevada, by studying a random sample of 200 cases. The results suggest that this theory holds true. The labeling perspective offers the best explanation of disparate treatment of African-American youth. Discrimination has been ever-present in every aspect of their lives while whites have enjoyed unwavering legal protections. Research also shows that crimes committed by minorities are more visible, detection is more likely, and the behaviors and general life styles of minorities are more likely to be labeled as "deviant.".


Justice; Juvenile; Minority; Over-representation; Representation; System

Controlled Subject

Criminology; Ethnology--Study and teaching; Blacks--Study and teaching

File Format


File Size

2007.04 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have the full text removed from Digital Scholarship@UNLV, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL.