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Raising the Age: Shifting to a safer and more effective juvenile justice system

Raising the Age: Shifting to a safer and more effective juvenile justice system

Over the past ten years, half of the states that had previously excluded all 16- and/or 17-year-olds from juvenile court based solely on their age have changed their laws so that most youth under age 18 who touch the justice system will fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system. These policy changes are a part of a shift to “raise the age”—reforms focused on moving out of the adult criminal justice system the tens of thousands of youth under 18 who are automatically treated as adults because of age of jurisdiction laws. States have raised the age for many reasons, one of which is research showing that justice-involved teenagers are more likely to move past delinquency and successfully transition to adulthood if they are served by a juvenile justice system, not an adult criminal justice system.

From Time-Out to Hard Time: Young Children in the Adult Criminal Justice System

This policy research report analyzes the available data with regard to the transfer of young children to adult criminal court, documents the extremely harsh and tragic consequences that follow when young children go into the adult criminal justice system, profiles practices in states with particularly severe outcomes for these young children, looks at international practices and offers policy recommendations.

A Guide to Evidence-Based Prisoner Reentry Practices

This report reviews the literature on effective correctional practices and research from applicable social sciences. It informs local policy and practices that promote extensive resources in order to observe prisoner reentry practices.

A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform

 This essay included in the 2008 KIDS COUNT Data book summarizes current trends in juvenile justice and makes the case for reforms that will keep youth safe, strengthen communities and reduce juvenile crime.

Because Kids are Different: Five Opportunities for Reforming the Juvenile Justice System

This report focuses on the implicated alterations of policies that will improve the compatibility of healthy adolescent development. In addition, it depicts on certain interventions and approaches of youth offenders.

Black Girls Matter: Pushed out, Overpoliced, and Underprotected

The research reflected in this report was designed to elevate the voices of Black girls and other girls of color affected by punitive policies so as to deepen our understanding of the ways they experience inhospitable educational environments and to produce recommendations designed to eliminate those inequities. Towards this end, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) conducted focus groups and stakeholder interviews in Boston and New York City between September 2012 and August 2013. An analysis of reported data on school discipline was undertaken by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) with the support of analysts at UCLA Law School.

CONNECTICUT: A Study of Juvenile Transfers in Connecticut 1997 to 2002

This report examines the law changes regarding the transfer of juveniles to adult courts in Connecticut between 1997 and 2002.

CONNECTICUT: Automatic Transfer of Juveniles from Juvenile to Criminal Court

This brief examines the cases in which juveniles can be automatically transferred to adult court in Connecticut. In this state, juvenile courts have jurisdiction over children under age 18. The law requires the juvenile court to automatically transfer a child aged 15 through 17 to adult criminal court if he or she is charged with a capital felony committed prior to April 25, 2012; a class A felony; certain class B felonies; or arson murder.

CONNECTICUT: Public Safety and Emerging Adults in Connecticut: Providing Effective and Developmentally Appropriate Responses for Youth Under Age 21

The goal of this research project to answer the following questions:

- How would raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 21 fit into Connecticut’s substantial experience with justice reform, including the past “raise the age” initiative that successfully expanded juvenile jurisdiction from age 16 to 18?

- What lessons can be learned from other jurisdictions in the United States and abroad about more effective ways to address emerging adults in the justice system?

- What would be the broader impacts of these proposed reforms on Connecticut’s justice system?

- What are the key issues that need to be addressed to ensure the successful implementation of these new reforms in Connecticut?

Effects on Violence of Laws and Policies Facilitating the Transfer of Youth from the Juvenile to the Adult Justice System: A Report on Recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services

The independent, non-federal Task Force on Community Preventive Service’s review of published scientific evidence concerning the effectiveness of laws and policies that facilitate the transfer of juveniles to the adult criminal justice system. The report found that transfer to the adult criminal justice system typically increases rather than decreases rates of violence among transferred youth and recommends against laws or policies facilitating the transfer of juveniles to the adult criminal justice system for the purpose of reducing violence.

FLORIDA: Direct Filing/Transfer of Juvenile Cases in Miami-Dade County, FL

The purpose of this project is two-fold. First, to research, review, and determine whether juvenile courts should retain jurisdiction over juvenile cases until the defendants reach age 18; and second, to establish whether there exists a disparity in the races of juveniles who have their cases directly filed or transferred to adult court. I selected Florida because Florida has been known for its record on juvenile direct files and has nationally held the lead for the number of juvenile cases transferred to criminal court. Beginning in the 1990s, many states made legislative changes to their juvenile laws to impose harsher sentences on juveniles who were charged with committing a series of crimes. These legislative changes were implemented as a deterrent to what everyone saw as an impending wave of violent crimes committed by youth.  

Gender-Responsive Policy

This report focuses on correctional policy and procedures that differ based on male and female offenders. The majority deals with areas of physical and mental health, substance abuse and its risks. In addition it mentions other inconsistencies in the management of these offenders.

Give Adolescents the Time and Skills to Mature, Most will Stop

This brief shows that dolescents, including serious juvenile offenders, naturally mature—psychologically, socially, and cognitively—over time; that the trend among serious adolescent offenders is toward reduced offending; relatively few consistently engage in serious adult crime; that even among serious offenders, there is a lot of variation in how, when, and at what rate individuals mature; that some people have wondered whether we can predict future offending based on the severity or frequency of offending during adolescence, and tha the answer is no. However, patterns of maturing do mirror patterns of future offending.

Guiding Principles for Providing High-Quality Education in Juvenile Justice Secure Care Settings

This report focuses on five guiding principles recommended by the federal government for providing high-quality education in juvenile justice secure care settings:

- A safe, healthy facility-wide climate that prioritizes education, provides the conditions for learning, and encourages the necessary behavioral and social support services that address the individual needs of all youths, including those with disabilities and English learners.

- Necessary funding to support educational opportunities for all youths within long-term secure care facilities

- Recruitment, employment, and retention of qualified education staff with skills relevant in juvenile justice settings who can positively impact long-term student outcomes

- Rigorous and relevant curricula aligned with state academic and career and technical education standards that utilize instructional methods, tools, materials, and practices that promote college- and career-readiness

- Formal processes and procedures – through statutes, memoranda of understanding, and practices – that ensure successful navigation across child-serving systems and smooth reentry into communities.

Health Coverage and Care for Youth in the Juvenile Justice System: The Role of Medicaid and CHIP

This brief provides an overview of the health and mental health needs of girls and boys in the juvenile justice system and the role of Medicaid in addressing those needs. It focuses on the circumstances of those girls and boys who are placed in juvenile justice residential facilities, the discontinuity of Medicaid coverage for those youth, and the options for improving coverage, continuity of care and access to needed services post-discharge, including new opportunities provided by the Affordable Care Act.

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