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Youth in Adult Criminal Courts

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 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.

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.

Juvenile Crime and Criminal Justice: Resolving Border Disputes

This chapter discusses the impact of transfer laws in reducing crime. The author finds that rates of juvenile offending are not lower in states where it is more common to try adolescents as adults and juveniles who have been tried as adults are no less likely to re-offend than their juvenile counterparts. He concludes that treating juveniles as adult criminals is not effective as a means of crime control.

Juvenile Justice, Geography, Policy, Practice and Statistics

This interactive web-based tool of the National Center for Juvenile Justice charts national changes in juvenile justice policy, practices, and statatistics to better understand reform. Changes are tracked in 6 areas of reform including Jurisdictional Boundaries, Juvenile Defense, Racial & Ethnic Fairness, Juvenile Justice Services, Status Offense Issues and Integrated Services.

Juvenile Transfer Laws: An Effective Deterrent to Delinquency?

This bulletin confirms extensive research finding that transfer laws have had the unintended consequence of increasing, rather than decreasing, recidivism rates and suggests that any intended deterrent effect of these laws has been largely unsuccessful.

Juvenile Waiver as the Only Equitable Method to Transfer Juvenile Offenders to Criminal Court

This Note argues that the increased use of over-inclusive legislative and prosecutorial waivers is a mere "quick-fix" to the juvenile crime problem and serves neither the interests of society at large nor the juvenile population.

Keeping Adolescents Out of Prison

This policy brief cites research showing that harsh punishment in adult facilities increases the probability of future violent crimes and that programs for youth that provide systematic treatment in community and family settings significantly reduce future criminal behavior without the need for harsh sanctions. The brief recommends states should adapt their laws on juvenile crime to emphasize evidence-based treatment and to avoid harsh punishment for all but repeat violent offenders.

Let the Jury Do the Waive: How Apprendi v. New Jersey Applies to Juvenile Transfer Proceedings

This Note analyzes Apprendi's applicability to juvenile transfer proceedings throughout the United States.

Literature Review on Youth Tried As Adults

This review by the Juvenile Justice Project at UCLA Law School was commissioned by the Campaign for Youth Justice, and provides an update to the previous literature review published by the Youth Law Center in 1995.  The report compiles the latest research and reveals the harmful effects of transferring youth to the adult criminal justice system, where facilities are ill-equipped to address youth needs and promote rehabilitation by examining the effects on culpability, probability of incarceration, length of incarceration, location of incarceration, processing time, deterrence, and recidivism.

No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration

"No Place for Kids: The Case for Reducing Juvenile Incarceration" is a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation which examines the detrimental impact of America’s over-reliance on incarceration of youth in a thorough, in-depth analysis of its effect on youth and public safety. Combining research, data and testimony, the analysis shows that America’s reliance on incarcerating young offenders has not only failed to combat youth crime but also that reducing these rates and closing facilities does not increase juvenile crime rates. 

Prosecution, Transfer, and Registration of Serious Juvenile Sex Offenders

This overview paints a broad picture of the state of the law in the United States regarding these issues, and then takes a look at the relevant provisions regarding sex offender registration and notification for juveniles adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court of serious sex offenses.

Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Court is Not Correlated with Falling Youth Violences

Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Court is Not Correlated with Falling Youth Violences, an analysis by Jeffrey Butts, director of the Research and Evaluation Center at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, refutes the claim that transferring youth to criminal court is responsible for decreasing crime rates. The dearth of data on youth prosecuted in the adult system has made such comparisons difficult in the past. However, by comparing transfer rates and crime rates from the six states with good data systems where all youth ages 16-17 are originally subject to juvenile court jurisdiction, Butts found there is no relationship between declining crime rates and transfer. For example, Butts found that Florida transfers more youth than any other state but did not achieve the same crime drop that Ohio, California, or Washington state achieved from 1995-2010.

Trying Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis of State Transfer Laws and Reporting

This OJJDP publication is a must-read bulletin as it provides the latest overview of state transfer laws and practices and examines available state-level data on juveniles adjudicated in the criminal justice system. State-by-state tables that readers will find useful include: type of transfer mechanism (i.e., judicial waiver to blended sentencing); states housing youth in adult prisons; laws allowing youth to be held pre-trial in jail; transfer data available in a state; juvenile courts that are allowed to impose criminal sanctions on juveniles; specifics of automatic/statutory waiver mechanisms; specifics of prosecutorial waiver mechanisms; and specifics of judicial waiver mechanisms (e.g., ages, offenses, burden of proof).

Youthfulness Matters: A Call to Modernize Juvenile Waiver Statutes

This Note examines the constitutionality of state statutes that allow for and mandate juvenile adjudication in adult courts.

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