The authors wish to express appreciation for assistance in conceptualization of the project and data collection from Jessica Meyer, Peter Tuerk, MaryFrances Porter, Lisa Trivits, Mindy Rosenbaum, Samantha Harvell, and members of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. We are especially grateful to the MacArthur Foundation, the Network, and its Director, Larry Steinberg, for funding the project.
Public attitudes about the culpability and punishment of young offenders†
Article first published online: 15 DEC 2006
Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Behavioral Sciences & the Law
Special Issue: Brief Risk Assessment
Volume 24, Issue 6, pages 815–832, November 2006
How to Cite
Scott, E. S., Reppucci, N. D., Antonishak, J. and DeGennaro, J. T. (2006), Public attitudes about the culpability and punishment of young offenders. Behav. Sci. Law, 24: 815–832. doi: 10.1002/bsl.727
- Issue published online: 15 DEC 2006
- Article first published online: 15 DEC 2006
- MacArthur Foundation Research
Opinions of 789 community adults were individually assessed, using a video-clip of an actual armed robbery and other measures, to determine whether attitudes toward the culpability and appropriate punishment of young offenders were linked to offenders' age, race, and physical appearance. Three major findings emerged: (1) community adults endorse the view that criminal choices of young offenders are influenced by their developmental immaturity and attribute more responsibility for the criminal act as the actor gets older; (2) the public has a relatively strong preference for differential treatment of juvenile and adult offenders; and (3) attitudes about culpability and punishment are not influenced by the culprit's race, physical maturity, or appearance of “toughness.” Indications that punitive public opinion toward youth crime may be changing and implications for juvenile justice policy of the study's findings are discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.