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Never Too Late: Public Attitudes to Juvenile Rehabilitation

22nd April 2010

US research has revealed that many people still retain an optimistic opinion of the chances of rehabilitating children, even into their later teenage years, despite a recent move towards a more punitive approach in many states.

The research, conducted by Francis T. Cullen and others, has been published in the most recent issue of Punishment and Society and was conducted in Pennsylvania with 1502 respondents.

They concluded:

In sum, opportunistic politicians in concert with right-wing pundits and enabled by a silent majority are a formidable force. Consequently, it appears that progressives will have to assertively mobilize on multiple fronts in order to ensure the will of the people is represented. We suggest that this includes making politicians more aware of evidence-based programs and progressive scholars marshalling the evidence of public opinion in support of their efforts to humanize the juvenile justice system, show how punitive policies undermine the will of the people, are not evidence-based, are inspired by anomalistic egregious cases, and, in some instances, do more harm than good.

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