SAGE Journal Articles
Click on the following links. Please note these will open in a new window.
Abstract: During the 1980s and 1990s, policy makers became alarmed by the perceived increase in juveniles’ involvement in serious crime. As a result, a number of laws were passed to increase the penalties associated with the commission of such crimes, including laws making juvenile waiver to adult court easier. Although research exists regarding public support for transferring juveniles, limited research is available to shed light on whether the public supports juveniles receiving “adult time” for “adult crimes.” This study expands on the current literature by assessing the public’s views on the appropriate level of punishment for juveniles who have committed a serious felony offense. Drawing on public responses to vignettes and data from the National Judicial Reporting Program, we also benchmark public preferences against actual sentences in criminal court. Although our results show that the public favors less severe penalties for many juveniles, we also find evidence of a public sentiment that “adult crime” merits “adult time.”