5 Dec 2015
“When we try children in adult courts, we do so as a result of flawed reasoning, penalizing them for not exercising that degree of judgment that we expect of adults” (Corriero 3).
In the age of legal and judicial reform, several laws are being changed (and some have already been changed) for the purpose of bettering our society and lowering the excessive rates of mass incarceration. There is still a long road ahead of us but I believe – and this paper will show – that changing the way juveniles are adjudicated in America is an important step in the right direction. The juvenile justice system was designed and implemented for juvenile offenders, and should be the only place that juveniles are adjudicated. Juvenile offenders should not be transferred to adult criminal court at any age, for any crime.
To get a better understanding of this, I have organized this paper into five main sections. The first section, Juvenile Transfer Laws, will give background on the topic at hand and is broken down into subsections: history, the current laws, and reform. The second section, The Debate, will better define and explain the debate regarding juvenile transfer. I will then discuss the medical and psychological aspect of the debate in the third section, Adolescent Development and The Brain. This section will also be broken into several subsections: the prefrontal cortex, the amygdala, social influence, and another perspective. The fourth section, Juvenile Sentencing and Incarceration discusses the issues surrounding juvenile incarceration. The fifth and final section will wrap everything up and leave you, the reader, to take the evidence and facts presented and decide for yourself: should adolescents be transferred and adjudicated in the adult criminal justice system?
Juvenile Transfer Laws
History. Prior to 1978, only a handful of states1 had laws that required “automatic” juvenile transfer; fewer juvenile cases were transferred...