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Growing Threat: Gangs and Juvenile Offenders (From Americans View Crime and Justice: A National Public Opinion Survey, P 137-150, 1996, Timothy J. Flanagan and Dennis R. Longmire, eds. -- See NCJ-179550)

NCJ Number
Ruth Triplett
Date Published
14 pages
This chapter reviews the public opinion literature on juvenile crime and juvenile justice, followed by a report on such findings from the 1995 National Opinion Survey on Crime and Justice (NOSCJ).
The 1995 NOSCJ findings are consistent with those from past research regarding public opinion on issues of juvenile justice and gangs. They reflect the public's desire for harsher treatment of serious juvenile offenders within the context of a rehabilitation framework. The findings on the waiver of juveniles to adult court support the public's desire for harsher treatment of serious juvenile offenders. A majority of respondents agreed with waiver for serious juvenile offenders. The more serious the offense, the greater the public support for waiver. These findings do not mean, however, that the public does not support rehabilitation for juvenile offenders. More than half of those surveyed believe that not enough money has been designated for rehabilitation programs. Combined with the results from past surveys, these findings suggest that the public supports greater funding for programs to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. Still, more than half of those surveyed believed that rehabilitation programs are not successful in controlling juvenile crime. Findings on policies for discouraging youth gangs also reflect the desire for punishment and rehabilitation. The policy most favored was more employment opportunities for youth, followed by the use of stiffer sentences, improvement in school security, increased aid to youth centers, and holding parents legally responsible for the actions of their children. 3 tables and 2 figures