Date of Award
Child and Family Studies
Teenage sex offenders -- Rehabilitation, Teenage sex offenders -- Legal status. laws. etc., Administration of juvenile justice -- United States
The juvenile justice system was founded on the beliefs that youth were inherently different from adults, both in the crimes they committed and how they were treated within society, and thus deserved to be punished differently. The court’s job was to act as a sort of parent and always in the best interest of the child. Within this empathetic system, there has always been a fundamental misunderstanding of youth who commit sexual offenses and today those misunderstandings are incredibly detrimental to adjudicated youth and society at large. We believe that these youth are dangerous predators, that they will continue to offend throughout adulthood, and that we need to punish them punitively and for long periods of time. Research shows that all of these assumptions are false and that these youth are deserving of rehabilitation and capable of change. Through an analysis of the literature on the history of the juvenile justice system, the characteristics and recidivism rates of youth who commit sexual offenses, and the implications of treatment, incarceration, and sex offender registration, the author discusses the various ways we have failed to meet the goals of the juvenile justice system and reduce sexual crimes.
Turner, Jesse, "Youth Who Commit Sexual Offenses: Tensions Between Public Perception, Legislative Barriers, and Research Findings" (2017). University Honors Theses. Paper 478.