Poll: Americans Want Alternatives to Juvenile Incarceration


The vast majority of Americans believe so-called status offenders, juveniles who commit infractions that are only illegal for minors, should not be placed in correctional facilities, according to a new poll from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

More than eight in 10 respondents (85 percent) in the poll agreed that status offenders should not be sent to corrections facilities. It was a sentiment that crossed party-lines, according to Pew.

The Mellman Group and Public Opinion Strategies conducted phone interviews with 1,200 registered between June 21 and June 26, 2014. The survey's margin of error is plus or minus 2.8 percent. Among callers, 36 percent identified as conservative, 32 percent as liberal and 32 percent as “politically moderate.”

Most respondents (87 percent) said schools, families and social service agencies should be responsible for handling status offenses.

They agreed with the statement: “What really matters is that the system does a better job of making sure that when a juvenile does get out, he or she is less likely to commit another crime,”

Respondents said policymakers should invest in programming that that helps prevent youths from reoffending and they support programs that diver juveniles from corrections facilities.

Read Pew's brief HERE.

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