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NCJ Number: 78815 Find in a Library
Title: Fighting Crime - The Problem of Adolescents
Journal: Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology  Volume:71  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1980)  Pages:94-97
Author(s): B Boland
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 4
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper investigates why official sanctions are likely to be more lenient for young offenders whose crime rates are at a peak and more severe for older offenders whose behavior has begun to improve.
Abstract: The organization of the court system which handles juvenile and young adult offenders can explain this situation. When juveniles commit crimes, their acts fall under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. Here, a large number of cases fall out at probation intake, and little relationahip is found between the way a case is handled and the seriousness of the offense. One national study of juvenile intake decisions found that roughly the same proportion (about two-thirds) of status offenses, misdemeanors, and felonies involving property were either dropped or adjusted at intake. When criminal offenders graduate from the juvenile to the adult justice system, one might expect to find a greater correspondence between the seriousness of criminal behavior and the seriousness of sanctions. This ultimately occurs, but not immediately. Existence of a prior criminal record operates as an importance influence in criminal court. However, due to the confidential nature of the juvenile criminal record, only the adult portion of an offender's record is considered. Thus, when an offender first enters adult felony court, he/she is usually treated with leniency at the first, and perhaps the second, conviction. Suggestions for improving the way the criminal justice system handles adolescent offenders, particularly career criminals, are provided. One table and 11 footnotes are supplied.
Index Term(s): Adult felony system; Juvenile justice system; Juvenile rehabilitation; Prosecutors
Note: Presented at the Symposium on the Career Criminal Program held in Alexandria, Virginia, September 20-21, 1979.
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