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Trying Juveniles as Adults

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According to Caldwell (1961) the juvenile justice system is based on the principle that youth are developmentally and fundamentally different from adults. According to Mack (1909) the focus of the juvenile justice system has shifted from “was the crime committed” to “why did the child commit the crime”, “how can we help the child”. When performing as it is designed and up to the initial intentions, the juvenile court balances rehabilitation (treatment) of the offender with suitable sanctions when necessary such as incarceration. According to Griffin (2008) in some cases juveniles may be required to be “transferred” to adult court. In this paper I am going to discuss the three primary mechanisms of waiver to adult court: judicial waiver laws, statutory exclusion laws, and prosecutorial discretion or concurrent jurisdiction laws. Furthermore, I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each type of mechanism that waives juveniles over to the adult court system. Finally, I will conclude by discussing the different mechanisms and how effective they are in relation to the principles and ideals that the juvenile justice system represent.
According to Griffin (2008) ever since the beginning the juvenile court system judges were able to designate cases that met certain criteria to criminal court. This process is described as the “jurisdictional transfer”. According to Griffin, Addie, Adams, and Firestine (2011) jurisdictional transfer laws drastically differ on a state by state basis. Griffin (2008) stated that all of the laws fall into one of the three primary mechanisms for transfer to adult court: judicial waiver laws, statutory exclusion laws, and prosecutorial discretion or concurrent jurisdiction laws. Kupchik (2006) stated tha...

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