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Abstract Informal processing has been a central feature of the juvenile court since its inception at the turn of the twentieth century. Taking many forms over the last century, one of the more common examples of informal processing efforts is juvenile diversion. Juvenile diversion is often plagued by issues of inconsistent implementation and definitional ambiguity. While proponents maintain that juvenile diversion programs operate in the best interests of the youth they serve, scholars have noted the potential for harms resulting from diversion. Civil citation in Florida is a prominent example of a contemporary, “smart justice” diversion program that attempts to balance the “best interests” of youth, with accountability for delinquent behavior. Despite their popularity and widespread promulgation, remarkably little is known about the ways in which civil citations are currently being used in Florida. The current research examines the effects of several characteristics of the offense and the offender on the use of civil citation. Multivariate analyses of use statewide, at the county-level, and between large counties, are presented. Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted with juvenile justice professionals aimed at understanding the ways in which civil citations are used. Results are consistent with prior scholarship on inconsistent implementation, and indicate significant variation in the ways civil citations are used throughout the state. Implications for research and policy are discussed.
A Dissertation submitted to the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Daniel P. Mears, Professor Directing Dissertation; Lenore McWey, University Representative; William D. Bales, Committee Member; Carter Hay, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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