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Polling on Juvenile Justice

Public Opinion on Juvenile Justice in America

Voters support sending serious juvenile offenders to corrections facilities, but they favor a range of less-costly alternatives for lower-level offenders, according to this nationwide poll conducted in 2014 by a bipartisan team of pollsters, the Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies. Voters see juvenile corrections facilities as government programs that should be subject to a basic cost-benefit test, and they strongly support a more robust probation system and more intervention by families, schools, and social service agencies. When it comes to the juvenile justice system, voters want offending youth to get the services and supervision they need to change their behavior and stop committing crimes—even if that means less incarceration.

Youth Justice System Survey Poll

GBA Strategies administered this survey of 1,000 adults nationwide between September 27th and October 2nd, 2011.

Key findings include:
- By a margin of 78 – 15 percent, the public overwhelming wants the focus of the juvenile justice system to be on prevention and rehabilitation, rather than incarceration and punishment;

-A majority of U.S. adults (56 percent) think that youth facilities are more appropriate to hold juveniles convicted of crimes than adult prisons;

- People overwhelmingly trust judges (81 percent), not prosecutors (12 percent), to determine if and when a juvenile should be tried as an adult;

- Nearly two-thirds of the public favors setting a minimum age at which a young person can be prosecuted in adult court.