CFYJ Issues New Policy Brief on Youth Transfer and the Importance of Individualized Factor Review
Aprill O. Turner
Communications and Media Relations Director
Campaign for Youth Justice
WASHINGTON (March 22, 2018) – This week the Campaign for Youth Justice issued a new policy brief, "Youth Transfer: The Importance of Individualized Factor Review". The brief examines the harm and collateral consequences that take place when young offenders have their cases transferred to the adult court, as well as the fact that youth have unique needs that require a specialized justice system equipped to handle those needs.
The brief examines individual and systematic factors considered as critical when judges and prosecutors are determining whether to prosecute a youth as an adult. Some of those factors include: age, maturity, mental health status, presence of an intellectual/emotional/physical disability, substance abuse history, exposure to trauma, family and/or community supports available, access to rehabilitative programming, and exhaustion of rehabilitative juvenile programs.
The brief also notes public safety concerns as to why youth should not be transferred to adult court. Ninety-five percent of incarcerated youth will return to their communities before their 25th birthday; therefore, the experience and rehabilitative services they receive in their youth and young adulthood are critical to public safety.
"Prosecutors and judges have incredible power and discretion to shape the course of a young person’s life and promote the safety of their community," said Jeree Thomas, CFYJ Policy Director and author of the brief. "It is critical that they utilize this power and discretion in conjunction with evidence-based practices and individualized consideration of rehabilitation."
CFYJ also includes policy recommendations for prosecutors and judges to prioritize and weigh equally individual factors related to what each youth needs in order to grow into a productive and contributing member of their community.
CFYJ also recommends increased transparency, and that prosecutors should document the individual and systematic factors in every case. When possible, they should recruit research assistance in providing an independent evaluation and data analysis related to outcomes for youth transferred under the criteria.
For more the full policy brief please visit: http://cfyj.org/research/cfyj-reports
The Campaign for Youth Justice, based in Washington, DC, is dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system.