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Who Gets a Second Chance? An Investigation of Ohio’s Blended Juvenile Sentence

Author: FRED L. CHEESMAN II, NICOLE L. WATERS and HUNTER HURST IV
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 33 No. 3

Factors differentiating blended sentencing cases (Serious Youthful Offenders or SYOs) from conventional juvenile cases and cases transferred to the adult criminal court in Ohio were investigated using a two-stage probit. Conventional juvenile cases differed from cases selected for non-conventional processing (i.e., SYO or transfer) according to offense seriousness, number of prior Ohio Department of Youth Services placements, age and gender. Controlling for probability of selection for nonconventional processing, transfers differed from SYOs according to age, gender, and race. Minorities were significantly more likely than Whites to be transfers rather than SYOs, suggesting possible bias in the decision-making process. Objective risk and needs assessments should be used to identify the most suitable candidates for blended sentences and adult transfer and enhanced services should be provided to juvenile offenders given blended sentences.

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