Public Opinion on Juvenile Blended Sentencing


Juvenile blended sentencing statutes enable juvenile courts to impose sanctions in the adult correctional system without the youth being processed by adult courts. The current study examines levels of public support for juvenile courts having the option to consider applying this new blended sentencing policy, and it analyzes the impact of various predictor variables, such as the perceived nature of juveniles and expected consequences of adult-level sanctions, on supportiveness. In 2009, a survey was mailed to a random sample of 1,000 Missouri residents, and through a series of follow ups, a 51% response rate was achieved. In general, respondents favored juvenile courts possessing the option to use juvenile blended sentencing. OLS regression analyses determined that the expected consequences of adult sanctions on youths were the strongest predictors of support. Attitudes about the respectfulness of youth and perceived importance of incapacitation in responding to youth crime also influenced attitudes toward the blended policy. Future directions for research along with policy and legal implications are discussed.


Criminology and Criminal Justice

Document Type





blended sentencing, juvenile justice, public opinion

Publication Date


Journal Title

Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice