Boys among Men: Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults

By David L. Myers | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7

General and Specific
Deterrence

During the past 30 years, policymakers generally have reacted to public concerns and fear of crime by supporting various get tough strategies. The more popular approaches have included [three strikes and you're out] laws, [truth in sentencing] provisions, expanded use of the death penalty, boot camps, and stricter law enforcement. While these measures often are backed with a belief in the value of increased retribution and incapacitation, they also are supported based on the idea that punishment deters criminal and delinquent behavior. Moreover, this stance is very appealing to the general public. Not only is it assumed that formal punishments have a deterrent effect but also that harsher sanctions are needed. As noted by James Q. Wilson, [Despite their good instincts for the right answers, the people, frustrated by the restraints (many wise, some foolish) on swiftness and certainty, vote for proposals to increase severity: if the penalty is ten years, let us make it twenty or thirty; if the penalty is life imprisonment, let us make it death; if the penalty is jail, let us make it caning.]1

Transferring juveniles to adult criminal court corresponds well with this view. Supporters of this practice contend that adult court is the appropriate place for youthful offenders who exhibit serious and violent criminal behavior. It is asserted that in adult court a message can be sent that the lenient treatment of the juvenile system is no longer an option.2

-105-

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Boys among Men: Trying and Sentencing Juveniles as Adults
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword ix
  • Acknowledgement xi
  • Chapter 1 - [Adult Crime, Adult Time] 1
  • Chapter 2 - Separating the Men from the Boys 13
  • Chapter 3 - Transformation to Criminal 31
  • Chapter 4 - Who Gets Transferred? 55
  • Chapter 5 - What Happens in Adult 71
  • Chapter 6 - Prospects for Punishment and Rehabilitation 89
  • Chapter 7 - General and Specific Deterrence 105
  • Chapter 8 - The Rise and Fall of Adult Crime, Adult Time 127
  • Notes 145
  • Bibliography 165
  • Index 189
  • About the Author 195
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