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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 77323 Find in a Library
Title: Treating Juveniles as Adults in New York - What Does It Mean and How Is It Working? (From Major Issues in Juvenile Justice Information and Training - Readings in Public Policy, P 265-293, 1981, John C Hall et al, ed. See NCJ-77318)
Author(s): M Roysher; P Edelman
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 29
Sponsoring Agency: Academy for Contemporary Problems
Sale Source: Academy for Contemporary Problems
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The 1978 New York State Juvenile Offender Law, which mandates that the prosecution of certain juvenile offenders originate in the adult court system, is examined with respect to its historical background, politics, and impact.
Abstract: The law, enacted in the heat of the 1978 gubernatorial campaign, followed earlier activities focusing on juvenile crime in its roots. Among these activities were the Governor's appointment in 1975 of a special commission to review the problem and passage in 1976 of the Designated Felony Act, which permitted mandatory secure confinement for an initial period in cases of serious violent crimes committed by juveniles. The Juvenile Offender Law created a category of juvenile offender for youths under age 16 charged with a larger group of felonies, including some forms of burglary. Although it provided for subsequent removal to family court, the law left New York with a system which was among the most severe in the country by initiating prosecution in the adult courts and providing for longer sentences. The law appears in many respects to be a failure. It has simply made the family court a backup for a crowded adult system and has not noticeably increased the seriousness with which many juvenile arrests are taken. Although the law has resulted in almost 1,700 arrests in the first year, only about 7 percent of these arrests has resulted in secure confinement of an offender a year and a half after the law took effect. Problems include long delays in processing, large percentages of dismissals and removals, a high percentage of pleas, and widely discrepant sentences. In addition, the law authorizes no special efforts toward rehabilitation and appears to have diverted attention from funding for preventive and rehabilitative employment programs. Instead of promoting swift, sure, and predictable judicial responses to juvenile infractions, the law has confirmed the irrationality of the criminal justice system. A table, a flow chart, and footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Critiques; Failure factors; Juvenile codes; Juvenile court waiver; New York; Political influences; State laws
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