This report examines the impact resulting from the prosecution of youth through the adult criminal justice system.
This report presents the results of a literature review that examined the impact of prosecuting youth in the adult criminal justice system. Youth may be prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system through a variety of mechanisms including judicial waiver, direct file or prosecutorial discretion, and legislative or automatic exclusions. Studies examining the effects of these transfer policies have found that these policies disproportionately affect youth of color, youth in the adult system are convicted and incarcerated at higher rates than their counterparts in the juvenile justice system, youth in the adult system receive harsher punishments than their counterparts, transferred youth experience high rates of pretrial detention and have no access to needed services, and transfer policies have not proven to be effective at deterring crime and reducing recidivism. This literature review examined studies published since 2004 that covered topics specific to the problem of youth prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system. These topics include offense and offender characteristics of transferred youth, substance abuse and mental health needs of transferred youth, conviction rates for transfers and comparisons with counterparts in the juvenile justice system, incarceration rates of transferred youth convicted of a crime, comparison of incarceration rates of convicted transfers and adjudicated juveniles, and impact on sentence length for incarcerated transfers. The findings from these studies indicate that the adult criminal justice system is not equipped to meet the needs of youth offenders at all stages of the process, and that instead, these transfer policies exacerbate the problems that they were intended to correct. Appendixes
United States of America