U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

State Trends-Legislative Victories from 2011-2013: Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Carmen E. Daugherty
Date Published
16 pages

This report presents information on key pieces of legislation enacted between 2011 and 2013 aimed at reducing the prosecution of youth in adult criminal justice courts.


Since 2006, 23 States have enacted 40 pieces of legislation that center on 4 areas of justice reform. This report highlights the laws passed in these four areas during the period 2011 to 2013. Between 2005 and 2010, Maine, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, and one local jurisdiction, Multnomah County, Oregon, passed laws to remove youth from adult prisons and jails; the following eight States followed suit between 2011 and 2013: Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Nevada, Texas, Ohio, and Oregon. Between 2005 and 2010, Connecticut, Illinois, and Mississippi raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction, while in 2013, both Illinois and Massachusetts raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18. Between 2005 and 2010, the following 10 States made significant changes to laws that allow for the prosecution of youth in the adult criminal justice system: Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, Indiana, Virginia, Washington, Connecticut, Delaware, and Illinois; between 2011 and 2013, Arizona, Colorado, Maryland, Nevada, and Ohio passed more laws aimed at keeping youth out of the criminal justice system. Between 2005 and 2010, Colorado, Georgia, Texas, and Washington changed sentencing laws for youth in the adult criminal justice system, with Indiana, Missouri, and Ohio making changes to their sentencing laws between 2011 and 2013. The last section of the report discusses the lessons learned from these reform efforts. 92 endnotes