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Juveniles Sentenced As Adults and Juvenile Decline Hearings

NCJ Number
Keri-Anne Jetzer
Date Published
October 2013
5 pages
This Washington State project created a dataset of juveniles who had been sentenced as adults in the State, as well juveniles who had received a "decline" hearing that led to their being sentenced in juvenile court; the data cover the years 2007 through 2011.
The data show that for the years covered in this study, juveniles were primarily 17-year-old White males. Convictions for White youth decreased by 20 percent, however, between 2007 and 2011, while convictions for Black youth increased by 18 percent during the same period. The percentage of convictions for Hispanic youth increased by just over 120 percent between 2007 and 2011.This trend may be partially explained by better reporting and tracking of ethnicity; however, the percentages of non-Hispanic youth sentenced as adults decreased by 30 percent during this period of better reporting. The average prison sentence for youth sentenced as adults was 102 months, sentences for the most violent and serious offenses fell under this category. Two of the three types of declines, mandatory and discretionary require a decline hearing; however, due to the lack of data, it was not possible to determine whether the decline hearings included in the study were for mandatory or discretionary hearings. Similar to the youth sentenced under the requirement of exclusive adult jurisdiction, the youth who received decline hearings and were then sentenced as juveniles were primarily 17-year-old White males. On the other hand, the percentage of females sentenced as juveniles after decline hearings was higher than for the population of juveniles sentenced as adults. Additional research briefs that provide further analysis will be published in the future. 10 charts and 2 tables