Sentencing Outcomes for Juveniles

Juvenile sex offenders have been given lengthy sentences and strict probation conditions over the past decade (Jones, 2007). This is in spite of the U.S. Supreme Court setting limits on how juveniles processed in the criminal justice system. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty for juveniles is unconstitutional (Roper v. Simmons, 2005). Aside from murder, juveniles cannot be given mandatory life sentences without parole (Graham v. Florida, 2010). Despite these limits, laws regulating sex offenders often combine juveniles with adults. Thus, as the Supreme Court sets limits on excessive punishments of juveniles, state and federal laws have increased restrictions on juvenile sex offenders.

Although Juvenile Court Statistics do not report information specifically for juvenile sex offenders, it does report on violent crimes committed by juveniles, which include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Of 1,000 violent crime cases in 2010, approximately 38% resulted in probation (Puzzanchera & Robson, 2014). Many juvenile sex offenders are mandated to outpatient sex-offender treatment (Center for Sex Offender Management, n.d.). Only 17% of juveniles referred to court are sent to an out-of-home placement (Puzzanchera & Robson, 2014). Fourteen percent of the cases are dismissed, and 10% receive some "other" sanction.

Many juveniles who are adjudicated for a sex crime receive probation paired with mandatory sex-offender treatment. This likely includes wraparound services, functional family therapy, and multisystemic therapy, which are all described later in the treatment section of this chapter—this in addition to the punishment that a juvenile is given by the juvenile court (or adult court for those who are waived). Juvenile sex offenders can also be required to register as sex offenders.

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