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March 24, 2007

Major new report on incarceration of kids as adults

Thanks to this post at TalkLeft, I see that the Justice Policy Institute has helped produce an important new report on the incarceration of youth in adult prisons.  The report is entitled, "The Consequences Aren’t Minor: The Impact of Trying Youth as Adults and Strategies for Reform," and is available at this link.  This summary comes from this press release:

The Consequences Aren’t Minor: The Impact of Trying Youth as Adults and Strategies for Reform presents research, statuary analysis, and case studies to highlight the problems with the policies and practices that treat young people as adults in the justice system.  The study examines the laws and data in seven key states: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin. An estimated two hundred thousand youth end up in the adult system each year, and 40 states allow or require the jailing of youth in adult facilities before they ever go to trial.

Youth prosecuted as adults are often held in adult jails for months or years, even though most are charged with nonviolent offenses, the report demonstrates....  Data shows that tens of thousands of young people end up in the adult system for non-violent offenses. In 2003, over half the youth in California’s adult system were prosecuted for misdemeanors and less than 30 percent received a prison sentence, suggesting that the majority of youth could be safely handled in the juvenile justice system. Of the 8,000 young people who enter Connecticut’s adult court system, the vast majority are arrested for non-violent offenses. In 2002 almost 14,000 17-year-olds were admitted to Wisconsin’s adult jails but only 15 percent of these youth were arrested for violent crimes.

March 24, 2007 at 06:26 AM | Permalink


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Of course, these types of studies could also look at the effects of lenient sentences for juveniles as well. I note two examples of appallingly low sentences:

1) The Long Beach Hate Crime incident.

2) The British man murdered in DC, where the juvenile accomplice got a mere five years.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 24, 2007 10:31:18 AM

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