This quantitative study surveyed college students (n=111), currently attending a community college in northeastern Minnesota, regarding whether juveniles should receive the same due process rights as adults, what the primary goal of the juvenile justice system should be, whether juveniles charged with serious offenses should be tried as adults, and whether juveniles convicted of committing a serious offense should be sentenced as adults. Utilizing two competing theoretical frameworks, the researcher hypothesized that students who self-identify with a conservative political ideology would be more punitive than students who self-identify with a liberal political ideology. The researcher's second hypothesis was that students who are fearful of being victimized would be more punitive than students who are less fearful of being victimized. Finally, various demographic variables were examined to understand their impact on punitiveness. The results tended to show support for the first hypothesis that punitiveness is impacted by a student's political ideology. The results showed no support for the second hypothesis that punitiveness is impacted by fear of victimization. These findings help to give further insight into public opinion about juvenile delinquency and how juveniles should be punished for committing serious offenses.
Date of Degree
Master of Arts (MA)
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Gehrke, R. C. (2016). "Get Tough on Juvenile Criminals": An Assessment of Punitiveness and Punitive Attitudes [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/602/
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