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Prosecution, Transfer, and Registration of Serious Juvenile Sex Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2015
31 pages

This report examines the systems of charging, adjudication, disposition, transfer, and/or sentencing that might apply to a serious juvenile sex offender.


It provides an overview of the status of relevant law in the United States regarding these issues and then focuses on the provisions that pertain to sex offender registration and notification for juveniles adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court fpr serious sex offenses. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) (Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006) was a landmark piece of Federal legislation that set revised standards for States, territories, and certain federally recognized tribes to meet as they improved or established their sex offender registration and notification systems. One of the key changes in SORNA from previous Federal schemes is the intentional inclusion of certain juveniles adjudicated delinquent for serious sex offenses in its registration and notification standards. This inclusion drew increased attention to the manner in which juveniles are adjudicated and sentenced for serious sex offenses in juvenile court. One approach that is emerging from recent research on adolescent development and the effectiveness of juvenile justice interventions is advocating for changes in the juvenile justice system. Generally, serious collateral consequences of a juvenile adjudication, such as lifetime sex offender registration, are viewed by adherents of this developmental approach as "fundamentally at odds" with an effective juvenile justice system. In addition, adherents of this approach favor judicial waiver, when it is necessary, as opposed to legislative or prosecutorial waiver of a juvenile to criminal court processing. 14 references and appended tables on each State's legislative waiver, prosecutorial waiver, or judicial waiver for serious juvenile offenders, as well as mandatory registration of serious juvenile sex offenders

Date Published: March 1, 2015