Who's in, who's out, and who's back: follow-up data on 59 juveniles incarcerated in adult prison for murder or attempted murder in the early 1980s

Authors

  • Kathleen M. Heide Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of South Florida, Department of Criminology, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Social Sciences Building Room 107, Tampa, Florida 33620-8100, USA
    • University of South Florida, Department of Criminology, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Social Sciences Building Room 107, Tampa, Florida 33620-8100, USA.
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  • Erin Spencer B.A.,

    1. University of South Florida, Department of Criminology, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Social Sciences Building Room 107, Tampa, Florida 33620-8100, USA
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  • Andrea Thompson B.A.,

    1. University of South Florida, Department of Criminology, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Social Sciences Building Room 107, Tampa, Florida 33620-8100, USA
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  • Eldra P. Solomon Ph.D.

    1. University of South Florida, Department of Criminology, 4202 East Fowler Ave., Social Sciences Building Room 107, Tampa, Florida 33620-8100, USA
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Abstract

Since the mid-1980s, when juvenile arrests for violent crime increased dramatically, interest has focused on juvenile offenders who commit violent acts. Legislatures across the United States have enacted a variety of measures to “get tough” with juveniles in response to escalating crime rates and the perceptions that longer sentences were needed. This manuscript provides follow-up data on 59 juveniles who were committed to the adult Department of Corrections in Florida during the period January 1982 through January 1984 for one or more counts of murder, attempted murder, or, in a few cases, manslaughter. Although many of these adolescents received lengthy prison sentences, more than two-thirds had been released from prison prior to November 1999. This article presents data on amount of time served and recidivism over the 15 to 17 year period. Results indicated that 60 percent of sample subjects released from prison were returned to prison, and most of those who failed did so within the first three years of release. Findings from the present study, when examined in the context of previous comparative follow-up studies of delinquent youths, suggest that the dialogue on how to handle violent youths must be continued if juvenile homicide offenders are going to be released to society at some point in the future. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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