Intake Like police officers, juvenile court officials exercise a great deal of discretion, particularly at the intake stage Contradictory behaviors: About half of all court referrals are released at intake using informal procedures like those used by police On the other hand, prior to adjudication, they detain far more juveniles than are later confined at disposition— often overestimating severity of cases
Juvenile Processing Court Dilemmas Nurturance Vs. Constitutional rights Saving truants, runaways, and neglected children Vs. Serving up “justice” Risking leniency, releasing kids Vs. Risking being too punitive, locking up and institutionalizing Protecting Kids Vs. Protecting Society
Juvenile Processing Waiver All states allow juveniles accused of serious crimes to be tried as adults in one of three ways, the third being the most common route to adult court. Kids have due process rights in this process. 1 Judicial Waiver--hearing before a judge who determines whether criminal courts should handle the case 2 Direct File (prosecutor discretion)--prosecutor has the discretion to take a case directly to juvenile court or to criminal court 3 Excluded Offenses--Certain offenses are automatically excluded from juvenile court Age--Some states define persons over a particular age (e.g.,15 or 16) as non-juvenile for criminal justice purposes with particular crimes
Juvenile Processing All states allow adult criminal prosecution and sentencing of juveniles under some circumstances.
Juvenile Processing 15-Year-Old Sentenced to 6 Years in Adult Prison CAMDEN, NJ (AP) -- A 15-year-old boy who prosecutors said was the mastermind of a failed plot to go on a shooting spree in a suburban school was sentenced Friday to six years in state prison. Edwin DeLeon and three other teens pleaded guilty earlier this year to scheming to shoot teachers and students in April. Authorities said they planned to open fire at Winslow Township High School in Camden County, where DeLeon and two of the others were students, then turn their guns on other people in the community. Despite attempts, the teens were never able to get a gun. School officials heard about the plans and the boys were arrested before anyone was hurt.
Juvenile Processing Kids tried and sentenced as adults are more likely to commit future crimes than similar kids processed as juveniles for the same crimes.
Juvenile Processing Death Penalty Juvenile justice systems have no provisions for the death penalty. The lowest age for which a person may be put to death for a crime had until recently been 16 years of age US Supreme Court Decision March 2005 Supreme Court ruling found that it is unconstitutional to put a person to death for a crime committed when the person was under the age of 18. This was consistent with Atkins vs. Virginia, June 2002, where the court ruled that execution of persons with mental retardation is unconstitutional.
Juvenile Processing Court Filtering (See Agnew, page 387) IntakeDismissed or Informal Adjustment (43% of Cases) Petitioned (57%) Waived to Adult Court (0.5%) Dismissed/Informal Adjustment (23%) Adjudicated Delinquent (33%) Probation Intermediate Out-of-Home Released (18%) Sanctions (4%) Placement (9%) (1%)
Juvenile Processing In California:
Juvenile Processing Trends Rate of referrals for formal processing increased 30 percent from 1988 to Largest increases have been for violence, weapons, and drugs. Most common cases: property crimes 77% male Rate of referrals for formal processing of status offenses increased 78 percent from 1988 to This is an example of “widening the net.” Most common cases: liquor laws and truancy 59% male
Adjudication Most kids admit guilt or accept a plea bargain prior to adjudication. The 1960s and 1970s saw an increase in due process protections for juveniles stemming from a series of US Supreme Court decisions. Notice of charges must be given Right to an attorney Proof of facts must be “beyond a reasonable doubt” Right to confront accusers No self-incrimination There is not a right to trial by jury
Juvenile Processing Adjudication Introduction of due process rights brought greater involvement of prosecutors into juvenile proceedings, making the system more adversarial and like the adult system The judge: 1 makes a finding of fact that the juvenile is not delinquent or in need of supervision 2 makes a finding of fact that the juvenile is delinquent or in need of supervision 3 dismisses the case because of insufficient or faulty evidence 4 in some places may use informal alternatives
Juvenile Processing Disposition Only a small fraction of all juveniles referred to court are eventually institutionalized Minority and lower-class youth are overrepresented Unclear whether court judges discriminate, most likely indirect discrimination at that point Disposition is still biased if arrest, detention, intake, or predisposition reports are discriminatory Prior action seems to bias judges
Juvenile Processing Pre-trial confinement accounts for much of the difference.
Juvenile Processing In California:
Juvenile Processing In 2003, public and private facilities held 32% more criminal delinquents and 32% fewer status offenders than in 1991
Juvenile Processing Public facilities drive the trend for the delinquency population; private facilities drive the trend for status offenders
Juvenile Processing The number of male offenders in custody increased 23% from 1991 to 2003 The number of female offenders in custody increased 52% from 1991 to 2003—but it is still far below the male number
Juvenile Processing In California:
Juvenile Processing Juveniles committed to residential placement per 100,000 in the population In 2003, the national commitment rate was 219 juvenile offenders in custody for every 100,000 juveniles in the population
Juvenile Processing Disposition or Sentencing What Works in Corrections for Juveniles? Community-based corrections Most experts recommend this over incarceration for most juvenile offenders Individualized treatments are more effective at reducing recidivism than large training schools More effective at addressing root causes of delinquency Most Successful programs Are comprehensive and intensive Operate outside traditional system Build on youths’ strengths Use socially-grounded approach rather than psychological therapy Addresses “right to treatment” better
Juvenile Processing Right to Treatment True purpose of juvenile justice system is rehabilitation. Practices not consistent with this goal violate due process guarantees No Solitary confinement Strip cells Withholding education Corporal punishment Must have Sufficient lighting, clothing, bedding, hygiene supplies Change of underwear and socks everyday Writing materials, glasses, reading material, ability to correspond Daily showers Access to medical and psychiatric care Does not grant Continued treatment in adulthood, broadly defined Individualized treatment plans
Juvenile Processing What Works in Corrections for Juveniles? Educational, vocational, and recreational programs Pros: Educating for meaningful skills and employing in meaningful work do help lower recidivism Cheaper than incarceration Acknowledges that we are in a capitalist society where persons must be employed to thrive Cons: Kids are often below grade level and less trainable than expected Often, not enough resources are invested in programs
Juvenile Processing Characteristics of Effective Prevention and Rehabilitation Programs—Agnew Chapter 24 Focus on all major causes of delinquency in your population Be intensive Focus on kids at highest risk for recidivism Begin early Base them in the community Warm but firm leadership New movement called “Positive Youth Development” Those things that make “normal” kids successful are also negatively associated with juvenile delinquency. Giving kids opportunities, relationships, rewarding experiences, responsibilities, and so forth will allow delinquents to turn their behavior around.
Juvenile Processing Regular Probation No worse recidivism than with other techniques for most offenders But it’s a lot cheaper Intensive Probation Small caseload May be more effective than probation As effective as incarceration at 1/3 the cost Electronic Monitoring More normalized experience with supervision No higher recidivism than incarceration Inexpensive May not work for substance abusers, repeat offenders, serious felony offenders, and those with long sentences
Juvenile Processing Electronic Monitoring More normalized experience with supervision No higher recidivism than incarceration Inexpensive May not work for substance abusers, repeat offenders, serious felony offenders, and those with long sentences Restitution (Monetary, Victim Service, Community Service) Often used more like retribution Relatively successful, lower recidivism than probation Works better with upper income, good school attendance, few priors, minor offenses, and lower dollar values Crimes often resulted from lack of money--how do you get a job now? Widens the net, imposes harsher penalties than existed before
Juvenile Processing Residential Community Treatment Group homes, foster homes, rural programs Pros: Recidivism is no worse Cheaper than lock up, more expensive than probation Cons: Public fear of juveniles Violent offenders may pose risks
Juvenile Processing Training Schools (Incarceration) Pros: Can keep “hardened delinquents” incapacitated Cons: Recidivism is often worse than other forms of disposition Expensive Therapeutic treatments are typically under funded and led by unqualified therapists Conditions are often bad Finding that “getting tough” doesn’t work as well as more “soft” approaches may permit our society to reclaim its humanity
Juvenile Processing Recently, California found that getting soft did not increase crime!
Juvenile Processing Preventing recidivism once released???