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Life without Parole for Juvenile Offenders: Questions of Legality and Adolescent Culpability

Description: Life without parole for juvenile offenders is a controversial issue across the globe. Recently, the United States stands alone as the only country in the world that allows juvenile offenders to be sentenced to life time confinement without the possibility of parole. Furthermore, the U.S. has seen an increase in juvenile waivers and blended sentences, which has resulted in harsher penalties for juvenile offenders who have committed serious and violent crimes. This analysis examines scientific evidence that shows juveniles are different from adults in terms of brain development, rational decision making abilities, and maturity levels. These findings have questioned the reasoning behind imposing adult punishment on adolescent behavior. This analysis also presents the legal arguments suggesting that juvenile life without parole is unconstitutional and violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Arguments for and against life sentences were also presented. This study concludes with a discussion of policy implications, whether the U.S. Supreme Court should abolish juvenile life without parole sentencing practices and explores the possible future direction of juvenile sentencing in the United States.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Corrington, David L.

Violent Female Offending: Examining the Role of Psychopathy and Comorbidity with DSM-IV Personality Disorders

Description: This thesis examines the role of psychopathy in violent female offending, and explores DSM-IV personality disorders that may also be a factor. Past research on female offenders and psychopathy suggest that this is a valid construct when looking at female offenders. This study was driven by two questions: which personality disorders are most common in adult female offenders who are psychopathic, and are adult female offenders who are psychopathic more likely to have been convicted of a violent offense than those who are not psychopathic, but have at least one personality disorder. The results indicate that Cluster B personality disorders were the most common, and Cluster C the least common. The results also showed that those women who were psychopathic were no more likely to have been convicted of a violent crime than those who had at least one personality disorder, but were not psychopathic. Treatment implications and the direction of future research are discussed.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Hilving, Rebecca