The article that will be reviewed is “ Transfer of juveniles to adult court: Effects of a broad policy in one court”. The aim of the study is to determine the effects and implications of transferring juvenile offenders to the adult court.
One of the key points presented in the study are the possible detrimental effects of the transfer. The possibility of a longer sentence for the adolescent offender exists when he is transferred to an adult court, which is quite unlikely if he had been tried in a juvenile court. Another detrimental effect is victimization. When adolescents are place in adult prisons, they may be subjected to physical, sexual or psychological abuse. The authors go on further to say that there are evidences which show that the risk of assault of juveniles is higher than the risk of adult prisoners in an adult facility.
Transferring adolescents in adult facilities may result in damaging disruptions in their developments during late adolescence and early adulthood. Furthermore, the prison environment may negatively impact on the juveniles’ self-worth because such an experience may be traumatic for them.
A second important issue raised in the article is whether transferring juveniles to adult courts will reduce crime. There are conflicting views on this issue. Others claim that putting the young adolescent in adult prisons increases their recidivism tendencies and are most likely to commit more serious offenses. To date, there are no conclusive studies that can claim that transfer of young offenders in adult prison deters juveniles from committing crimes. Mulvey and Schubert cites a study by Levitt which disclosed that awareness of juveniles that they may be transferred to adult courts, are likely to deter them from committing crimes, when there is a big difference in the severity of punishment between juvenile and adult courts.
In conclusion, the research suggests that transferring juveniles to adult courts should take into consideration the offense type and the prior history of the offender. It also highlights that juveniles who are transferred to adult courts are more vulnerable to harmful peer pressures and outside forces. Moreover, the study bares that there are lower rearrest rates for transferred juveniles who committed crimes against persons. In contrast, juveniles who committed crimes against properties and were transferred to adult courts have a higher rearrest rate.
After reviewing the article and based on one’s own beliefs, one is convinced that juveniles should not be transferred to adult facilities. While the focus of the adult court system is on justice and punishment, the juvenile courts are directed towards the rehabilitation of the young offender . Juveniles can still be productive citizens of the country given the appropriate rehabilitation program and support from the community. Exposing them to adult criminals might negatively influence them to do even harsher and more serious crimes in the future. As Bazemore and Terry put it, juveniles must be treated more as victims than villains (1997). The last thing that the society would want is to convert these victims into villains by transferring them to the adult court system.
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Bazemore, G., & Terry, W. (1997). Developing delinquent youths: A reintegrative model for rehabilitation and a new role for the juvenile justice system. Child Welfare, 665-716.
Metzgar, E. (2007). Neither seen nor heard: Media in America’s juvenile courts. Communication Law and Policy, 177-200.
Mulvey, E. P., & Schubert, C. A. (2012). Transfer of juveniles to adult court: Effects of a broad policy in one court. Juvenile Justice Bulletin, 2-17.