Professor of Criminology, Florida State University
- Importance of research that accounts for beliefs central to the juvenile court’s mission.
This study uses data from 866 college students enrolled in criminology and criminal justice classes, to examine support for different approaches to sanctioning violent juvenile offenders. Analyses indicate that a majority of respondents supported balanced justice for violent delinquents, approximately one-third supported a primarily rehabilitation-focused approach to sanctioning, and the remainder supported a primarily punishment-oriented approach. Individuals who believed that youth could be reformed and deserved treatment were more likely to support balanced justice or a primarily rehabilitation-oriented approach to sanctioning youth. The findings underscore the nuanced nature of public views about sanctioning youth, the salience of philosophical beliefs to support different sanctioning approaches, and the importance of research that accounts for beliefs central to the juvenile court’s mission.