Although sentencing recommendations should be based on legal factors, research shows that some juvenile probation officers (JPOs) also consider extra-legal factors. Indeed, research shows that stereotypes about certain demographics (e.g., young Black males) increase the perception of dangerousness and, in turn, result in harsher sentencing recommendations. The purpose of the current study was to identify the legal (seriousness of offense, prior offenses, and record), physical (race, gender, and age), and social factors (socioeconomic status, completeness of the juvenile’s family/family arrangement, presence of co-offenders) that the JPO considered the most important when making their sentencing recommendations. Data for the study came from a sample of juvenile probation officers in nine states. Participants were asked questions about sanctioning, disposition, and sentencing. The findings show that while the majority of JPOs rated legal factors (e.g., seriousness of offense) as the most important when making sentencing recommendations, a substantial proportion of the sample rated physical factors (e.g., race) as the most important factor considered when making sentencing recommendations. Implications and future directions for research are discussed.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call