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NCJ Number: NCJ 241476     Find in a Library
Title: Improving Juvenile Justice Policy in California: A Closer Look at Transfer Laws' Impact on Young Men & Boys of Color
  Document URL: PDF 
Author(s): Jennifer Lynn-Whaley ; Andrea Russi
Corporate Author: Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy
Berkeley Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 08/2011
Page Count: 8
  Annotation: This examination of juvenile transfer laws in California discusses the circumstances under which they evolved, how they impact youth of color, and whether they improve public safety and reduce recidivism; recommendations and examples of promising approaches are offered.
Abstract: Although the juvenile court was created in 1899 in the belief that juveniles who violate the law should be treated differently from adults because of their lack of maturity and poor judgment, circumstances and the political climate combined to create a more punitive attitude toward serious and violent juvenile offenders. This led to the enactment of legislation that permits and in some cases mandates that serious and violent juvenile offenders be transferred to an adult court for processing without regard to their age. California set the bar for this trend, pushing punitive juvenile policy further than any State. This brief details the provisions of the legislation that was enacted, and it presents data on the number of juveniles sent to adult or juvenile prisons from 2003 to 2009; which show a 231-percent increase in secure custody for juveniles. Within this trend, there was a significant disproportionate effect on youth of color, particularly males. In assessing the impact of this dramatic increase in the incarceration of juveniles, research has not found evidence that trying youth in adult court results in reduced recidivism or that the transfers have a deterrent effect. Research has shown just the opposite, i.e, juvenile transfers to adult court have increased recidivism. There are three reforms that are gaining support: increasing the age for adult criminal court jurisdiction; transferring juveniles back to juvenile court after appropriate case review of sentences in adult court; and expanding education and rehabilitation programs. 4 figures and 41 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile court waiver
Index Term(s): Juvenile justice reform ; Minority juvenile offenders ; Juvenile justice policies ; Minority overrepresentation
Sponsoring Agency: California Endowment
United States of America
Sale Source: Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy
Berkeley Law School
University of California
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Country: United States of America
Language: English
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