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NCJ Number: 169441 Find in a Library
Title: Key Legislative Issue: Transferring Serious Juvenile Offenders to Adult Courts
Journal: Alternatives to Incarceration  Volume:3  Issue:4  Dated:(July/August 1997)  Pages:28-30
Author(s): D Parent; T Dunworth; D McDonald; W Rhodes
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 3
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After reviewing trends in the transferring of serious juvenile offenders to adult courts, this article considers the impact of such transfers on juvenile sentencing, facilities, housing, and programming.
Abstract: The number of juvenile court cases transferred to adult courts has increased sharply, up from 7,000 to 11,000 between 1988 and 1992. Although the number of juveniles subsequently confined in adult prisons has also increased, youth compose a small proportion of the entire prison population. Juvenile detention facilities are experiencing a backlog of juveniles awaiting transfers to adult prisons (some for 6 months or longer), causing some problems in managing this temporary population. Ten States account for the vast majority of juveniles age 17 or younger admitted to adult prisons, with North Carolina accounting for over one-fifth. No recent studies of the sentences given to transferred youth are available. Studies conducted in the late 1970's and early 1980's found that juvenile offenders were often handled more leniently by the criminal courts to which they had been transferred than by juvenile courts, probably because they were appearing in criminal court for the first time. Some believe that housing juveniles with older inmate populations ensures they will be victimized, assaulted, and abused. The alternative is to enter protective custody, which is usually a separate, secure housing unit in which they spend a great deal of time in isolation, a setting that is especially conducive to suicidal behavior. Further, when juveniles are housed with adults or placed in protective custody, it is impractical to develop specialized programming that addresses their particular needs and problems. Some jurisdictions, such as Georgia and Colorado, are building special units for juveniles within their adult prisons. These units will be run by specially selected and trained staff.
Main Term(s): Juvenile court waiver
Index Term(s): Juvenile sentencing; Juveniles in adult facilities; Serious juvenile offenders
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