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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2712

Title: Assessing the “Evolving Standards of Decency”: public opinion of non-capital sentencing options for juvenile offenders
Authors: Fass, Tracy L.
Keywords: Clinical psychology;Juvenile delinquents;Life imprisonment
Issue Date: 7-Mar-2008
Abstract: Recent judicial decisions and statutory changes have resulted in an absolute ban on capital punishment for convicted juvenile offenders. This study examines public opinion of alternative sentencing options: life without parole, life with parole, and blended sentencing. The current study is the first to assess public opinion of life without parole outside the context of public opinion of capital punishment for juveniles. A total of 359 participants (189 undergraduate students and 170 law students) were administered a vignette describing the commission and conviction of a serious crime. The participants were asked to rate how likely they would be to sentence the defendant to each of the three sentence options. Results provided partial support for the hypotheses that defendant age, culpability, and offense severity are positively related to sentence severity, and participants‟ level of education is negatively related to sentence severity. Overall, results indicate that participants preferred a blended sentence most, life with parole second, and life without parole least. It appears that both the general public and the legal community support the use of the juvenile justice system as a first step in punishing a defendant, and neither group supports the trend toward more punitive treatment of juvenile offenders.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2712
Appears in Collections:Drexel Theses and Dissertations

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