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Youth in the Criminal Justice System: Guidelines for Policymakers and Practitioners

NCJ Number
Date Published
86 pages
This booklet addresses the policy, procedural, and programmatic implications of the large number of juveniles being transferred to the adult criminal justice system and tried and incarcerated there.
It is estimated that at least 200,000 American youth under the age of 18 are tried as adults each year. This paper seeks to provide a framework for dealing with youth from the time of arrest through incarceration. The primary focus is on protecting society and holding offenders accountable, while at the same time addressing the distinctive characteristics of those children and youth who enter the system. The Pretrial Stage and Trial Stage sections of the paper address issues concerning police investigation, pretrial release and detention, speedy trial, waiver of rights, roles of participants in the process, guilty pleas, trial procedures, media access, and other issues where the developmental characteristics of children and youth should be considered. The Corrections Stage section examines the handling of youth in juvenile or adult correctional facilities, separation from adults, hiring and training staff, the importance of the classification process, the design of facilities, disciplinary and grievance procedures, privatization, provision of educational, health care, and nutritional services, access to family and others through visitation, developing volunteer programs, and parole and transition services. Notes, bibliography, appendixes