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Summary of Prosecution, Transfer and Registration of Juveniles Who Commit Serious Sex Offenses

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2022
43 pages

Since the full range of alternative approaches for prosecuting serious sex offenses in juvenile courts across the United States is not well known, this report summarizes such policies for each U.S. state and territory in relation to relevant provisions of the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, which sets revised standards for states, territories, and certain federally recognized tribes as they modify or establish their sex offender registration and notification systems; however, this report does not include specific information on tribal prosecution or registration of juveniles who commit serious sex offenses.



The first section of this summary reviews the features of legislation in the United States regarding juvenile adjudication, with overviews of juvenile courts and the age of criminal responsibility. It then reviews the factors considered in determining whether a juvenile can be tried as an adult and the methods for doing so. The second section of this report examines the relevant provisions of state and territorial laws regarding sex offender registration for juveniles adjudicated delinquent in juvenile court for serious sex offenses. The report’s second section also presents SORNA’s requirements for public website posting of juvenile’s registration information and whether states and territories have mandatory, discretionary, or no website posting. The report’s third section contains summaries of each state’s and territory’s provisions for the prosecution, transfer, and registration of juveniles charged with and adjudicated delinquent for serious sex offenses.