Department of Justice: Trying Youth As Adults

Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:10am EDT

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Department of Justice: Trying Youth As Adults

PR Newswire

New bulletin analyzes state laws to transfer juvenile offenders to adult court

WASHINGTON, Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice has released a new bulletin that examines laws that allow or require states to prosecute some juvenile offenders in adult criminal courts. The bulletin, Trying Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis of State Transfer Laws and Reporting, provides the latest overview of state juvenile transfer laws and practices and examines available state-level data on juveniles adjudicated in the criminal justice system.

Transfer laws are not new—all states have one or more transfer mechanisms—but legislative changes in recent decades have greatly expanded their scope. To date, only 13 states publicly report the total number of their transfers, and even fewer report offense profiles, demographic characteristics, or details regarding processing and sentencing. Although nearly 14,000 transfers can be derived from available 2007 sources, data from 29 states are missing from that total.

Among the findings reported in this bulletin are the following:

  • In most states, criminal prosecution renders a juvenile an "adult" forever.
  • The number of judicially waived cases hit an historic peak in 1994, when about 13,100 cases were waived, and has fallen 35 percent since that year.

TITLE: Trying Juveniles as Adults: An Analysis of State Transfer Laws and Reporting

RESEARCHERS: Patrick Griffin, Sean Addie, Benjamin Adams, Kathy Firestine

PUBLISHER: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention


OJP, headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at

SOURCE Department of Justice

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