Perceptions Of Juvenile Offenders Who Were Maltreated As Children

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Samantha Eva Reis (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:
Twila Wingrove

Abstract: Research shows that when a study has participants act as mock jurors and experimentally manipulates child abuse, participants tend to recommend more lenient sentences for offenders with a history of abuse. Majority of the current research uses serious criminal offenses, such as murder, and many do not look into the influence of race, sex, and type of abuse. This study examined people’s perceptions of juvenile offenders who were maltreated as children by manipulating type of crime, type of abuse, the race of offender, and the sex of offender to see if these variables would influence the punitiveness of sentencing, and perceptions of the offender’s intent, responsibility, and blameworthiness. We recruited 209 Appalachian State University students and 430 participants from Amazon’s MTurk tool to read a short case vignette online and answer questions about it. We found that offenders who were abused were sentenced slightly harsher than those who were not abused and offenders who committed assault were sentenced harsher than offenders who committed breaking and entering. In the student sample, participants sentenced White offenders harsher than Black offenders, but the other sample found no difference. Lastly, in both samples the sex of the offender did not influence sentencing severity.

Additional Information

Honors Project
Reis, S. (2019). Perceptions Of Juvenile Offenders Who Were Maltreated As Children. Unpublished Honors Thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2019
Psychology, Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice, Abuse Victimization, Sentencing

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