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NCJ Number: 210382 Find in a Library
Title: Decline of the Juvenile Death Penalty: Scientific Evidence of Evolving Norms
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:95  Issue:2  Dated:Winter 2005  Pages:427-500
Author(s): Jeffrey Fagan; Valerie West
Date Published: 2005
Page Count: 74
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper reports on an assessment of competing explanations for the decline in juvenile death sentences.
Abstract: A descriptive analysis was conducted of trends in juvenile death sentences over time, considering both the absolute number of death sentences imposed on juvenile offenders and the rate at which juvenile offenders are sentenced to death, indexed to the homicide rate and to the rate at which juveniles are arrested for homicide. The data encompassed all death sentences given from 1990 to 2003. The data were obtained from official sources, including the U.S. Census, the Bureau of Justice Statistics' database on capital punishment, and the Uniform Crime Reports. The authors also used the comprehensive index of juvenile death sentences maintained by Victor Streib, which is widely used in the analysis of the juvenile death penalty. This compilation of data was followed by a multivariate analysis to determine whether the decline in the use of the death penalty for juveniles was statistically significant after controlling for other competing explanations. Overall, the regression models show a statistically significant decline in juvenile death sentences in the years after 1999 across a range of models that control for a wide range of social and legal factors and under two different modeling strategies. The authors conclude that the decline in the use of the death penalty for juveniles is due to an emerging societal norm that opposes the use of the death penalty for juveniles. 17 tables and 127 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile capital punishment
Index Term(s): Abolishment of capital punishment; Corrections policies; Juvenile sentencing; Public Opinion of Corrections; Public Opinion of Juveniles; Sentencing trends
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