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Judicial Censure and Moral Communication to Youth Sex Offenders

Daly, Kathleen
June 4, 2015

Source: (2008) Justice Quarterly. Vol. 25, Issue 3:496-522.

This paper analyzes the frequency and content of judicial censure and moral communication in the sentencing of youth sex offenders. Drawing on the sentencing remarks for 55 sexual violence cases, we examine the ways in which judges interact with youths and censure the offenses, and what, if any, normative guidance they give concerning gender, sexuality, and violence. We found that in most, but not all cases, the judges censured the offending as both a moral and legal wrong. However, they spent more time discussing a youth’s future than past behavior, as they sought to elicit change. The judges did not degrade or exclude the offenders; rather, they addressed them in a spirit of reintegration, as worthy individuals with future potential. (author’s abstract)


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