Waiver and transfer provisions of the juvenile court statues

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Waiver and transfer provisions of the juvenile court statues

  1. 1. Running Head: WAIVER AND TRANSFER PROVISIONS 1 Waiver and Transfer Provisions Of the Juvenile Court Statues Course Instructor Name
  2. 2. WAIVER AND TRANSFER PROVISIONS 2 Introduction The criminal justice system has the main goal of reducing crime in the society. Beforethe introduction of the juvenile court system, juvenile offenders were treated in theAdversarial Criminal Justice System, in the same manner as adults (Brink, 2004). Theseinfluenced legislators in many countries to think of alternative procedures that could be usedin dealing with youthful offenders instead of subjecting them to the harsh treatment in thecriminal justice system. Consequently, this led to the establishment of juvenile courts thatfocused more on rehabilitation rather than punishment (sellers & Arrigo, 2009). Courtproceedings were made more informal, and youthful offenders were since distanced from theAdversarial justice system. Various states developed Juvenile court systems across the U.Swhere offenders below the age of 18 were tried for their offences (Steward-Lindsey, 2006). The American judicial system has undergone changes in the recent years particularlythe juvenile system. These has been as a result of complains from the public for the states tobe tough on crime. Various states have advanced different approaches that advocate forjuvenile waiver and transfer (Steiner & Wright, 2006). Juvenile transfer waiver laws arestatutes allowing young offenders to be transferred from juvenile courts to criminal courts.This means that, they are prosecuted as if they are adult with the range of penalties beinggreat. Overtime different states have adjusted their weaver laws. The following are theclassification of the various weaver laws that have been advanced (Schubert et all.,2010).Discretionary waiver is the provision that allows juvenile court judges to transfer a caseinvolving a minor from a juvenile court to an adult criminal court. Mandatory waiver is when
  3. 3. WAIVER AND TRANSFER PROVISIONS 3the state demands that juvenile offenders under the juvenile courts be transferred to adultcriminal courts. The state directs the juvenile courts to carry out this function. Presumedwaiver involves the state classifying cases into categories such that certain cases must betransferred to adult criminal courts under the law. Statutory exclusion entails excluding casesthat involve youths from juvenile courts if the statutes do not support such an offence to betried under the juvenile courts. The final class that of once an adult always an adult. Thisinvolves statutes in which the state stops juvenile courts from trying offenders who have everbeen tried under the adult courts for being tried in Juvenile justice system (Brink, 2004). Overtime, states have advanced on their waiver laws to streamline the movement ofcases from juvenile courts to criminal courts so that prosecution becomes easier. This hasbeen accompanied by deletion of some offences from juvenile statutes in most jurisdictions oradding simultaneous authority provisions to laws that are already established (Brink, 2004).This paper critically analyzes the trend in the waiver and transfer provisions in juvenile courtstatutes toward a criminalization of the juvenile court system. Waiver and transfer provisions in juvenile court statutes and the criminalization of the juvenile court system. These provisions are intended to reduce crimes but scholars have been able to provethat waivers and transfers cannot deter crime or reduce incidences of recidivism. Recenttrends in research show that the statutes concerning transfers and weavers do not inthemselves account for decreased levels of juvenile offending or reoffending (Steiner &Wright, 2006). When juveniles are transferred to adversarial courts, the results are shockingas most of them either recividate or leave the systems more hardened criminals. Putting the
  4. 4. WAIVER AND TRANSFER PROVISIONS 4youthful offenders in same custody as the adults puts their life at risk, since they can easily beinjured by the adults. It has been observed that most of the youths who pass through the adultsystem are always detained for longer periods that their counterparts and minority youths arethe ones who are often sent to the adult criminal justice system (Steiner & Wright, 2006).Cognitive development and Juvenile fitness have a great influence on the lives of thejuveniles. When exposed to conditions where they are subjected to harsh treatment, they arelikely to experience lack of impulse control and slower brain development. It is observed that transferring violent offenders directly to the adult system has notbeen able to deter young people from offending. The media has also gone ahead to publiciseinformation about such statutes that involve direct transfer of violent juvenile offenders toadult courts but that has also not bore any positive results. In studies where youthful offendershave been transferred to the adult criminal justice system, the results have been comparedagainst those who have been treated in the juvenile justice system and a large disparity hasbeen observed (Steiner & Wright, 2006). Offenders from the adult justice system werearrested for felonies at a higher rate compared to their counterparts who had been treatedunder the juvenile justice system. Some scholars have carried out studies of institutions thattry to incorporate the two approaches of treatment and rehabilitation. The result has been adecrease in levels of re-offending which however remains higher that the levels of reoffendingof youths treated under a plain juvenile justice system. The only type of offence that seemedto have less re –offending rates for juveniles treated as the adult system included propertycrimes. The explanations for this observation are interesting. First, when transferred to theadult system, most of the youths feel that they have been treated unfairly for their offences.
  5. 5. WAIVER AND TRANSFER PROVISIONS 5They disagree with the state position of seeking justice and consequently develop a wrongmentality against the state (Steiner & Wright, 2006). When released, the youths are likely toreoffend to compensate for the injustices done against them by the state. Treating juveniles under the adult system is a form of criminalising the Juvenilesystem. Youths who join adult system, are disadvantaged since, they lack the chances to seekemployment and other opportunities in life. As such, when they are released, they cannot fitwell in the society (Steward-Lindsey, 2006).Consequently; they turn back to their formerways of reoffending to earn a living. In addition, Juveniles who are exposed to the adultsystem and are put in adult prisons are likely to become hardened criminals. These youthsinteract most often with the adult offenders and as a result learn new skills and new means ofcriminality from the mature inmates. Those youths who are treated under the juvenile system are always well bred and findit easy to interact with the prison staff and can easily be integrated into the society. Those putin adult systems held that guards and staffs in adult court systems and prisons were harsh,inhumane and indifferent and treated them as enemies. Those who were rehabilitated throughthe juvenile system promised never to re offend again since; they had been empoweredthrough knowledge and fair treatment. While in detention in adult prisons, youths are exposed to several risks. They mightnot be compatible with the adults and as such may choose to commit suicide. The adults arealso likely to abuse them sexually or physically through assaults. Consequently, when they goback to the community, they are often very damaged than their counterparts who were treatedin the juvenile justice system (Steward-Lindsey, 2006).This coupled with the violence
  6. 6. WAIVER AND TRANSFER PROVISIONS 6observed in most of the adult prisons, makes the youths tougher and more hardened and as aresult they may engage even in more dangerous experiences. Treating juveniles under these systems leaves them more desperate. The best approachis to treat them with the intention of rehabilitating them so that, they are easily integrated intothe society. This is important as it helps the individuals and also protects the society formcriminals and crimes. Juveniles are still young and have not matured and therefore their mindis not well built to be exposed to such experiences as those in mature prisons. Youths aresusceptible and cannot effectively think or reason on their own as adults would do. It has alsobeen shown that juvenile treated as adults are affected cognitively since it impairs theircognitive development (sellers & Arrigo, 2009). Conclusion Therefore, the state must ensure that the number of youths being subjected to adulttreatment is reduced if not done away with. The states must also ensure that the properservices, treatment programmes and sentencing procedures that fit the juveniles are used. Thetransfer system and its related treatment of youthful offenders return the system back to thetimes when there was no juvenile justice system.
  7. 7. WAIVER AND TRANSFER PROVISIONS 7 ReferencesBrink, D. O. (2004). Immaturity, normative competence, and juvenile transfer: How (not) to punish minors for major crimes. Texas Law Review, 82(6), 1555-1585.David M., S. (n.d). Juvenile Offenders: The Supreme Court and the Sentencing of Juveniles in the United States: Reaffirming the Distinctiveness of Youth. Child And Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics Of North America, 20(Forensic Psychiatry), 431-445.SELLERS, B. G., & ARRIGO, B. A. (2009). ADOLESCENT TRANSFER, DEVELOPMENTAL MATURITY, AND ADJUDICATIVE COMPETENCE: AN ETHICAL AND JUSTICE POLICY INQUIRY. Journal Of Criminal Law & Criminology, 99(2), 435-487.Schubert, C., Mulvey, E., Loughran, T., Fagan, J., Chassin, L., Piquero, A., & ... Cauffman, E. (2010). Predicting Outcomes for Youth Transferred to Adult Court. Law & Human Behavior, 34(6), 460-475.Steiner, B., & Wright, E. (2006). Assessing the Relative Effects of State Direct File Waiver Laws on Violent Juvenile Crime: Deterrence or Irrelevance?. The Journal Of Criminal Law And Criminology, 96(4), 1451-1477.Steward-Lindsey, S. (2006). Fulfilling the Promise of Kent: Fixing the Texas Juvenile Waiver Statute. American Journal Of Criminal Law, 34(1), 109-126.

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