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NCJ Number: 242653 Find in a Library
Title: Young Offenders: What Happens and What Should Happen
Series: OJJDP Justice Research Series
Author(s): Philip Bulman
Corporate Author: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
US Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
United States of America

Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
US Dept of Justice
United States of America
Date Published: February 2014
Page Count: 3
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice (NIJ)
Washington, DC 20531
NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention
Washington, DC 20531
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis; Report (Summary)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This bulletin examines policies that impact young offenders who cross over from the juvenile to the criminal justice system, with a focus on juvenile delinquents ages 15-17 who are candidates for transitioning into the criminal justice system and young adults age 18-24 who are already in the criminal justice system.
Abstract: The 20th-century shift to punitive policies toward offenders in these two age groups is first reviewed. An increase in the number of homicides committed by adolescents and young adults in the late 1980s resulted in all States passing laws to make their juvenile justice systems more punitive, and these new laws led to more juveniles being tried and sentenced to adult prisons. These changes may have been counter-productive, however, as recent studies have shown that juvenile justice system services and supervision are more effective than confinement in reducing antisocial behavior. Criminal justice policy for adolescents and young adults must recognize what research has determined regarding child and adolescent brain development, i.e., that there are developmental differences in the human brain, which is not fully mature until early adulthood. Evidence from research on the effectiveness of criminal justice policies and the findings of developmental neuroscience require criminal justice policy reforms. First, consider raising the minimum age for criminal court to 21 or 24. Second, consider creating special correctional facilities for young adult offenders, with tailored services such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, drug treatment, mentoring, educational and vocational training, and work release programs. Third, consider a “youth discount” for young offenders that decreases the severity of penalties. Fourth, conduct risk and needs assessments of young offenders to guide intervention. Fifth, use reentry services that include therapy, drug treatment, and educational programs.
Main Term(s): Juvenile justice policies
Index Term(s): Biological influences; Juvenile court waiver; Juvenile delinquents; Juvenile sentencing; Sentencing factors; Young adult offenders; Youth development
Note: Juvenile Research, February 2014
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