Factors Affecting Sentence Severity for Young Adult Offenders

by Peter W. Greenwood, Allan Abrahamse, Franklin Zimring

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This report analyzes several samples of young males arrested for either armed robbery or residential burglary in three sites: Los Angeles County, California; Clark County (Las Vegas), Nevada; and King County (Seattle), Washington. Its aim is to determine the relative severity with which young adult offenders are sentenced in criminal courts, and the degree to which their juvenile records affect their sentencing. Contrary to the suggestions of several prior analysis, the authors found no evidence in any of the sites of consistent leniency toward young adult defendants, and they concluded that the severity of the defendant's prior record did not affect the disposition of the case.

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