Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Tina Jaeckle

Committee Member

Marcelo Castro

Committee Member

Grace Telesco

Committee Member

Tammy Kushner


Adultification, African American Juveniles, Justice, Juvenile Court, Overrepresentation, Race


This dissertation was prepared to offer a scholarly investigation on the justice officials’ consideration of race in making decisions for sanctions and sentencing of African American juveniles. The research provided an extreme review of the justice system to place in context the differential treatment of Black youths. African American juveniles’ cumulative experience of discrimination and racial disparities in the juvenile justice system and adult criminal justice system. An examination of the overrepresentation of African Americans in the justice system. A journey from juvenile delinquency to adult criminality. An early destination starts at arrest to intake to juvenile court then transfer into adult court then to sentencing, and finally into incarceration. Juveniles enter the justice system, penetrate further into the adult criminal system, and re-enter the revolving door of justice. The importance of the dissertation topic shed light on systemic racism and its impact on government, the justice system, education institutions, and society as a whole. The methodology used was a generic qualitative perspective and thematic analysis approach. The sample was comprised of Florida State Attorneys. The interview instrument was applied to develop data. The current research found results of racial disparities, differential treatment, inconsistency in the administration of justice, and the prosecutors’ neutrality in consideration of race. Future research could benefit by building on the implications of this study, for informing academia and rectifying some of the practices of criminal justice procedures.