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Juvenile Economic Sanctions: An Analysis of Their Imposition, Payment, and Effect on Recidivism

NCJ Number
Criminology and Public Policy Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2014 Pages: 31-60
Stacy Hoskins Haynes; Alison C. Cares; R. Barry Ruback
Date Published
February 2014
30 pages
Based on an analysis of 921 juvenile cases in 5 Pennsylvania counties, this study focused on when and how restitution and other economic sanctions were used with juveniles and their effect (i.e., whether imposition and payment were related to the successful completion of a juvenile sentence).
Economic sanctions were imposed in 80 percent of the cases. Fees were imposed in 66 percent of cases, and restitution was imposed in 33 percent of restitution-eligible cases. The findings thus indicate that restitution was not imposed when it was appropriate to do so, i.e., when the offense was a direct cause of victims suffering tangible property or money losses. Regarding known recidivism, juveniles who paid a larger proportion of their economic sanctions were less likely to have their probation revoked. Revocations were also less likely for juveniles who were violated for nonpayment. Payment of economic sanctions had no effect on other measures of recidivism, i.e., violations in general, technical violations, or new charges. Overall, the recidivism analyses suggest that economic sanctions mattered more for how violations were handled (i.e., whether the juvenile's sentence was revoked) than for whether juveniles violated the conditions of their sentence. Given the cost-effectiveness of economic sanctions for juveniles compared to other sanctions (notably incarceration), as well as the restorative aspect, particularly regarding restitution, policymakers should increase the percentage of juvenile cases disposed with economic sanctions, particularly restitution. Attention should also be given to procedures for collecting economic sanctions. 4 tables and 67 references