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Reconsidering Child Saving: The Extent and Correlates of Public Support for Excluding Youths From the Juvenile Court

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 55 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2009 Pages: 51-77
Brandon K. Applegate; Robin King Davis; Francis T. Cullen
Date Published
January 2009
27 pages
This study examined public views of trying serious juvenile offenders as adults.
The 1990s saw concerted legislative efforts to increase the mechanisms through which juveniles could be transferred to the adult court. Beginning research exists on how the public feels about transferring youths out of the juvenile justice system, but it is somewhat dated and does little to illuminate the reasons people support transfer. Using a statewide sample and factorial survey design, this study assesses how public views are related to multiple factors, including offense and offender characteristics, views on the appropriate aims of juvenile sentencing, perceptions of juvenile maturity, and expectations about the results of transferring juvenile cases to the adult criminal justice system. Study findings suggest that people want transfer used sparingly and selectively and that support is greatest when they believe that the adult system can provide effective rehabilitation as well as punishment. Implications are discussed. (Published Abstract)