Juvenile Justice Transfer Process
Juvenile justice is a justice system that was made to protect delinquent offenders it is a system that act as a shield to offenders below the majority age from the criminal system. The establishment of juvenile justice system dates back 1868, it was meant to protect children from the adult way of justice (Taxman, 2014). The main aim of forming the juvenile justice was to encourage the rehabilitation on the basis of the child needs (Robinson, 2014). The system separates young criminals below the age of 17 years from adult criminals. Formation of the system was under the belief that if young people are treated in a fair manner as deserved they will change and become better members of the society (Johnson, 2012). Juvenile Justice was established as a process that moves from one step to the other. The paper intends to open a discourse on the process that is encountered during administering of juvenile justice.
During early 1980s, the juvenile was designed to be harder to the juvenile offenders since significant have been to revise the law to be fairer to the juvenile. One of the outstanding changes that were made concerning the law is the 2003 revision known as the certification or waiver (Johnson, 2012). The revision expanded the type and number of criminal changes that make a youth eligible for adult jail. There are different types of the transfer laws that were amended, the three main types of transfer laws are prosecutorial direct-file, judicial transfer and automatic transfer (Woolard, 2012). The three types of the juvenile justice define what offences minimum age and the charges. Another common mechanism of transfer especially in Columbia is the judicial waiver. In this mechanism, the judges are at liberty to waive or graduate juvenile cases to an adult criminal court. Most states of the United States of America affect the laws as prescribed in their states law (Taxman, 2014). Security analysts argue that the wide spread juvenile transfer process by either of the above mentioned processes has been as a result of an upsurge in violent crimes involving juvenile delinquents. The transfer laws take the following process in their defining and execution.
Specific and General Deterrence
The policy behind general or specific deterrence is that some disciplinary laws might at a time not work on some hard juvenile criminals (Woolard, 2012). Trying the juvenile in adult court might increase the chances of the offender to recommit the crime this assumption is made in comparison to the offenders tried in juvenile courts (Greenwood, 2011). That is how specific deterrent defines or rather clarifies the importance of the juvenile law. The general deterrent, on the other hand, suggest that whether an offender is placed in a juvenile court or adult court there will be little or no effect at all.
The potential deterrent, on the other hand, looks at the effect of jailing young criminal on adult courts and its impact on the society (Robinson, 2014). The introduction of the juvenile court was built on the belief that the young offender can be disciplined and released back to be constructive members of the society (Steiner, 2014). However, there is a contrary opinion that when children are placed in adult court their experience will be enough lessons for them not involve in crime again.
A judicial waiver is a situation where a juvenile court decides on the transfers a case so as to deny the juvenile the protection that is gained under the juvenile law by transferring the case to adult court. Apart from the state of New Mexico, New York, and Nebraska all other states do provide a legal, judicial waiver to young criminal up to a certain age after the protection cease. Offender between ages 17-18 is mostly judged as an adult in most states court. However, some states takes the age as low as 13 years (Taxman, 2014). The waiver depends on two factors that are either the offender has involved him/herself in countless offences or the offender was outrageous in the offences he/she committed (Jonson, 2012).
Statutory exclusion was included in the year 1997 by almost 28 states that had not had the law before (Robinson, 2014). The law allows the inclusion of some offences like murder being categorized as first-degree murder in the juvenile court which is usually expected to rise. In such a situation, a juvenile accused of a crime that is excluded from the crimes covered by the juvenile court is normally treated as an adult. With regards to that, prosecution is no longer left at the discretion of the prosecutor. Upon coming to a conclusion that the juvenile delinquent is to be charged with an excluded offense, the age of the minor seizes to be taken into account. The case may either be held in a criminal court or be transferred to a juvenile court on order.
There are exceptional states in the US where the legal provision can allow the legal provision to be filled by the prosecutor in either juvenile or adult court when the offence committed to a certain degree. The Kent v. US was a case that does not allow the transfer if some of the stipulated requirement is not met though as time progresses there might be some changes that will take place (Johnson, 2012).
The Breed v. Jones (1975) was a significant case that left some lessons to be learnt in the juvenile court. The case lighted the way on whether to prosecute a juvenile in a juvenile court or adult court; this was based on the nature of the crime committed by an individual (Taxman, 2012). Double jeopardy was a term that came into existence during the case that is to try an offender twice for a single crime committed; this was found to be violating the latest amendment made that was the Fifth Amendment. Though, the case was of significance to the juvenile court, it did not impact a lot in the system, this is because juvenile case of some wild nature are still subjected to a waiver that can lead to a juvenile being taken to an adult court.
After the transfer, people have never understood what happens to the transferred offender though the overall mindset is that the transfer will change the offender in a certain way. The majority who believe in offender also changing believes that the transfer society problems can solved by transfers that lay down certain disciplinary measures (Taxman, 2014). The only problem is that most people have not understood the law is not to punish the offender to change them but to protect them from situation that exceeds their age since this can make the offender have a positive mindset and finally change to a better person (Steiner, 2014). The fraction of the disputes being handled by the juvenile court has increased over the years; this has increased the bottlenecks to be handled while carrying out a transfer process. The difficulties encountered while carrying out a transfer go further beyond the court walls since it is a burdening task and sometimes counterproductive. The counterproductive part comes in handy when the youth who were initial transferred are found to commit more crimes within a short period after their release (Woolard, 2012). The reasoning behind the transfer is sometimes poor too this is because the nature of the crime committed does not make one more mature than one's age. The question is how the court handles situations where the offender age does not allow transfer while the crime committed is of a transferable nature?
The increase of youth in jails and prison raises lots of concern has how the society operates and how the judicial system charges the youth. For the judicial system to give justice to all the law must be effected fully (Johnson, 2012). Over the few past year transfers have increased at an alarming rate, this calls for revision of the existing policies so as to change the scenario to a better one. The new policies to be formulated must take several factors into consideration, some of the factors to be considered are the nature of punishment and how juvenile cases are to be handled (Robinson, 2014). The new policies to be formulated should take into consideration all the factors that make youth commit crimes of transferable nature and issue a judgment that one deserves and not a judgment that burdens the young offenders. The areas that will need immediate readdress are the level of punishment administered to the youths, the responsibility given to the youths and the programs that are followed while disciplining the young offenders (Steiner, 2014). Though the juvenile system has some negative part of it, it has proven that the American society care for their children. Studies need to be intensively conducted to establish whether the highly debated transfer legislation has led to a reduction in the level of violent crimes among young people. In case it is established that the level of violent crimes involving children have still continued to rise, then it should be abolished and better rehabilitation and correction laws put in place. Coming up with laws that protect the children against the sturdy judicial system is an element of care and love to citizens of United States of America. To the contrary, should it be established that it has led to a significant reduction in violent children crimes, it should be upheld and strengthened.
Double Jeopardy--Juvenile Law: Breed v. Jones, 421 U.S. 519 (1975)
Greenwood, P. W., & Turner, S. (2011). Juvenile crime and juvenile justice.Crime and public policy, 88-129.
Johnson, B. D., & Kurlychek, M. C. (2012). Transferred Juveniles In The Era Of Sentencing Guidelines: Examining Judicial Departures For Juvenile Offenders In Adult Criminal Court.Criminology, 50(2), 525-564.
Robinson, G. (2014). Policy Transfer in Criminal Justice: Crossing Cultures, Breaking Barriers. Edited by Mary Anne McFarlane and Rob Canton (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014, 336pp.£ 70 hb). British Journal of Criminology, azu094.
Steiner, B., & Hamilton, J. (2014). Transfer of Juveniles to Adult Court. The Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Taxman, F. S., Henderson, C., Young, D., & Farrell, J. (2014). The Impact of training interventions on organizational readiness to support innovations in juvenile justice offices. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 41(2), 177-188.
Woolard, J. L. (2012). Crossing Over: Girls at the Intersection of Juvenile Justice, Criminal Justice, and Child Welfare. In Delinquent Girls (pp. 25-39). Springer New York.