Resident Perceptions of Punitive versus Rehabilitative Approaches to Juvenile Crime

Authors: Ray Oldakowski*, Jacksonville University, Shelley Grant*, Jacksonville University
Topics: Social Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: Geography of Crime, Public Opinion
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/11/2021
Start / End Time: 11:10 AM / 12:25 PM
Room: Virtual 26
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

According to the 2018 Uniform Crime Report, juvenile offenders represent approximately 7% of all arrests in the United States. How to handle young people within our criminal justice system is a vexing problem. The original intent of the juvenile justice system was to work in the "best interests of the child" with a focus on rehabilitation. At various times, our system has strayed from these ideals, and even demonized children with terms such as "superpredators" and engaged in practices such as transferring juveniles to adult court, sentencing children to life without parole and even imposing the death penalty on children. Despite these contradictions to original intent of the juvenile court, research shows that the general public believes in rehabilitation for our youngest community members, especially when charged misdemeanors or non-violent offenses. The purpose of this research is to determine if Northeast Florida residents are more supportive of rehabilitative or punitive programs as a response to juvenile crime. We will also seek to determine if this preference varies significantly among different subgroups of the population including those of different age, race, education, and income groups? Does this preference vary significantly among different geographic units in the study area such as counties and neighborhoods? And lastly, does any geographic variance in opinions correlate with geographic variance in crime rates? Data for this study were obtained via an online survey of residents in the metro Jacksonville area.

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