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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 200082 Find in a Library
Title: Hard Choices or Obvious Ones: Developing Policy for Excluding Youth From Juvenile Court
Journal: Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:April 2003  Pages:198-214
Author(s): Joseph B. Sanborn Jr.
Date Published: April 2003
Page Count: 17
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the various ways in which juveniles who are charged with a criminal offense are excluded from the juvenile court process and are prosecuted instead in criminal court.
Abstract: In discussing the dynamics of exclusion from juvenile court processing in favor of criminal court processing, the author advises that in the final analysis, the transfer of a juvenile to adult court should be recognized as a discretionary decision by a prosecutor or judge that has no connection to the exclusionary methods that are considered mandatory. In the case of a transfer, the youth would have been prosecuted in juvenile court but for the decision of a prosecutor or a judge to send him/her to criminal court for trial. In putting exclusion into context, the author notes that the majority of juvenile justice literature has concluded either that the entire concept of exclusion is flawed or the way in which it is practiced leaves much to be desired. The latter criticism usually refers to prosecutorial transfer and more often to offense exclusion. In discussing the development of a rationale for exclusion, the author argues that exclusion involves much more than the issue of which system, juvenile or adult, does a better job in preventing recidivism. Also at stake are issues such as the preservation of the juvenile court and its pursuit of the rehabilitation and best interests of juveniles, the extent of justice and punishment available to the juvenile court, the promotion of society's interests, and the condemnation of violence and chronic offending. The inability of the system to exclude at least some juveniles from juvenile court asks too much of both the juvenile court and society. To date, research studies have shown that the transfer decision is a critical one that should be made carefully and with an understanding of the implications for society and for youth who are placed in the adult system. Research has also identified the need for sound adult penal policy that can respond appropriately, effectively, and humanely to youth who are convicted in and incarcerated by a criminal court. Regarding the proper methods of exclusion, the article advises that certification to criminal court must be recognized primarily as a charging decision. This means that most of the responsibility for transfer to adult court should be in the hands of the prosecutor, especially for serious and chronic offenders. 5 notes and 36 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile court waiver
Index Term(s): Discretionary decisions; Judicial discretion; Juvenile justice policies; Prosecutorial discretion
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