skip navigation


Abstract Database

Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

To download this abstract, check the box next to the NCJ number then click the "Back To Search Results" link. Then, click the "Download" button on the Search Results page. Also see the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 207312 Find in a Library
Title: Juvenile Competence to Stand Trial
Journal: Children's Legal Rights Journal  Volume:24  Issue:2  Dated:Summer 2004  Pages:2-11
Author(s): Frances J. Lexcen Ph.D.; Thomas Grisso Ph.D.; Laurence Steinberg Ph.D.
Date Published: 2004
Page Count: 10
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article presents the methodology and findings of a study comparing adolescents with adults on measures of competence to stand trial.
Abstract: During the 1990’s, the juvenile justice system abandoned its rehabilitation focus and went back to its roots by espousing a decidedly punitive juvenile justice model. This more punitive model has resulted in increasing numbers of juveniles transferred to adult criminal courts based on offense categories rather than on the characteristics of youth charged. A recent study by the MacArthur Foundation assessed the performance of approximately 1,000 adolescents aged 11 to 17 years and almost 500 adults aged 18 to 24 on measures of adjudicative competence in order to assess whether juveniles may be more vulnerable to incompetence in criminal court proceedings than adults. The samples included juveniles and adults who were detained and those who remained in the community. Data were collected from four locations: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, northern Florida, and central and western Virginia. Dependent variables included competence to stand trial and decision and judgment in the adjudicative process, measured through the variables of risk appraisal, future orientation, and resistance to peer influence. The findings indicate that juveniles age 15 and younger are more likely to display the inadequate functional and decisionmaking abilities consistent with adjudicative incompetence. Implications are discussed in terms of the lowered age limits for transferring juveniles to adult criminal courts. Very young juveniles, particularly those under the age of 14 may not be appropriate subjects for adult criminal adjudication. Future research should focus on how to best identify these vulnerable youth. Figures, endnotes
Main Term(s): Competency to stand trial; Juvenile offenders
Index Term(s): Adult offenders; Comparative analysis; Young juvenile offenders
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.