Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e36680. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036680. Epub 2012 May 23.

Race and the fragility of the legal distinction between juveniles and adults.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, Stanford, California, United States of America. arattan@stanford.edu

Abstract

Legal precedent establishes juvenile offenders as inherently less culpable than adult offenders and thus protects juveniles from the most severe of punishments. But how fragile might these protections be? In the present study, simply bringing to mind a Black (vs. White) juvenile offender led participants to view juveniles in general as significantly more similar to adults in their inherent culpability and to express more support for severe sentencing. Indeed, these differences in participants' perceptions of this foundational legal precedent distinguishing between juveniles and adults accounted for their greater support for severe punishment. These results highlight the fragility of protections for juveniles when race is in play. Furthermore, we suggest that this fragility may have broad implications for how juveniles are seen and treated in the criminal justice system.

PMID:
22649496
PMCID:
PMC3359323
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0036680
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center