Childhood on Trial: The Failure of Trying and Sentencing Youth in Adult Criminal Court

Mar 01, 2005
  • Description

This national report from the Coalition for Juvenile Justice (CJJ) finds that a quarter million youth under the age of 18, charged with both minor and major criminal offenses, are sent into adult criminal court each year -- with decidedly negative results. Re-offense rates increase for youth handled in the adult system versus the juvenile system; age-appropriate rehabilitative services are scarce and substandard in adult jails and prisons; physical, emotional and sexual abuse risks escalate for youth jailed with adults; and youth of color are more often transferred and sentenced to adult court -- as compared with white youth who have committed the same offenses. The report cites exemplary efforts -- like those in Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont, and several other states -- that seek to restore the authority of the juvenile court judge, as well as common sense, to the way we handle juvenile offenders.