Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in the Journal of Criminal Justice (2004) 32: 465-475. Copyright 2004, Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2004.06.010. Used by permission.


Parental responsibility laws, varying greatly within and among the states, appeared as one answer to the questions surrounding juvenile crime. Although these laws would seem to garner great public support under the new punitive attitude toward juveniles, no recent empirical studies were conducted on this topic. The current research examined public support of parental responsibility for crimes children commit. Contrary to expectations, public support was found to be relatively low. The public did place some responsibility on the parents when a juvenile crime occurred; however, agreement with blaming and punishing the parents was low. Political ideology and educational status served as possible predictors of support. Overall, however, demographic variables proved not predictive in determining who would support these measures.