Examining the practical utility of a structured decision-making tool and its impact on actual case dispositions for juveniles charged with sexual offenses is an important question to answer. While research has confirmed that structured decision-making contributes to positive youth and system outcomes, addressing how well these broad policies serve specific groups of offenders, such as juveniles charged with sexual offenses, has not yet received adequate empirical attention. Therefore, this dissertation sought to examine the strengths and limitations of using Florida's statewide disposition recommendation policies for juveniles who have been charged with sexual offenses. Specifically, the study sought to examine 1) the association between delinquency risk to reoffend and disposition alignment with the disposition recommendation provided by the FDJJ among juveniles charged with a sex offense and juveniles charged with other against-person felony offenses, 2) differences in dynamic risk domains across disposition match among juveniles charged with a sex offense and juveniles charged with other against-person felony offenses, and 3) whether being charged with a sex offense, compared to being charged with other against-person felony offenses, increased the likelihood that a juvenile would receive residential commitment. To answer these questions, administrative data was obtained from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. The data included juveniles whose cases were disposed in Florida between 2012 and 2017 and included juveniles who were charged with sex offenses and juveniles who were charged with other against-person felony offenses. A variety of bivariate (crosstabs, chi-squares, ANOVAs) and multivariate (logistic regression) statistical techniques were employed. The results of the proposed study may be used to improve Florida juvenile justice disposition recommendation practices for juveniles who have committed sexually-related offenses.
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Fisher, Kristina Childs
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
School of Public Administration
Public Affairs; Criminal Justice
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Gomez, Katherine, "Juveniles Who Commit Sexual Offenses: An Evaluation of Dispositions in Florida's Juvenile Justice System" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 684.