1932

Abstract

When youth commit crimes, their parents may be held legally responsible for their actions. Parental legal culpability laws were developed to ensure justice for victims of crime but also deter juvenile delinquency. However, it is unclear if parental culpability has these desired effects or if it instead contributes to disparities that already exist in the justice system. This review provides a psychological perspective on parental legal culpability, highlighting the different types of offenses that parents may be held responsible for, including vicarious tort liability, status offenses, and criminal responsibility. Given the significant public discourse around certain types of crime, we also include focused discussions about parental culpability for youth violence and cybercrimes. We then consider the unintended consequences that may arise as a result of parental sanctions, from exacerbating racial and ethnic inequalities to imposing financial burdens that may put families at risk for further justice involvement. Finally, we discuss challenges to the efficacy of parental culpability laws, with recommendations for areas of continued research.

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2024-01-26
2024-04-18
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