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August 1, 2023

Big new report examines developing "hybrid justice systems" for offenders between 18 and 25

I tend to looks at the development of juvenile justice systems as a kind of sentencing innovation as jurisdictions decided the purposes and processes of punishment should be different for juvenile offenders.  In turn, I also think sentencing concerns are a big part of the development of new "hybrid justice systems" developed for young (or emerging) adults, though I have not followed these developments all those closely.  But we can all catch up on these trends through this huge new report emerging from Columbia University titled "Time for Change: A National Scan and Analysis of Hybrid Justice Systems for Emerging Adults." 

The full report, authored by Selen Siringil Perker and Lael E. H. Chester, is "the first in the nation to systematically document the existence of an emerging adult jurisdiction — hybrid systems (also known as 'youthful offender laws') that create a distinct path for emerging adults (ages 18-25) by lessening some of the harm imposed by the adult system and extending some of the rehabilitative opportunities of the juvenile system to support the healthy transition to adulthood."  The extended foreword and executive summary can be found at this link, and here is an excerpt:

Our national scan revealed seven jurisdictions that have hybrid systems for emerging adults: Alabama, District of Columbia, Florida, Michigan, New York, South Carolina, and Vermont.  After conducting the scan, we analyzed the key provisions of each of these hybrid statutes, reviewed the existing, publicly available (but scarce) data on system-involved emerging adults, and conducted virtual and in-person interviews with key stakeholders to better understand the practical application of the law and the experience of emerging adults in these jurisdictions.  Combining the information gleaned from our research with the existing body of research on emerging adults’ developmental needs and the adult criminal legal system’s effect on young people, we offer key elements of a model hybrid statute to serve as a resource for states that wish to adopt or expand hybrid systems.

Hybrid statutes vary greatly by the degree of protections they offer and present themselves on a wide spectrum between the adult criminal legal systems and juvenile justice systems.  This versatile nature of hybrid systems makes them an important tool in the toolbox of policymakers that seek to transform justice responses to emerging adults. Hybrid systems are associated with enhanced public safety as indicated in some studies by lower recidivism rates of impacted youth for weapon and violent offenses.  Through record protection measures, hybrid systems reduce collateral effects of a criminal record, increase employment and community engagement opportunities for youth, and can meaningfully curb incarceration.  A study of gun violence in Chicago, for example, showed that employment is the most important preventative factor to keep emerging adults from carrying guns.

August 1, 2023 at 03:10 PM | Permalink


If anyone thinks the Left is going to stop at 25 on this march toward diluted accountability, I have this bridge to sell you......

Posted by: Bill Otis | Aug 1, 2023 3:15:08 PM

The problem is the victims---if you let those who commit big boy crimes get easy sentences, then people aren't going to tolerate it.

Posted by: federalist | Aug 1, 2023 5:20:21 PM

A hybrid justice system makes sense as to recognize the fact that young adults brains are still maturing and that they should not suffer the lifelong (60 and 70 years) effects of a criminal record (with some obvious exceptions for heinous crimes, murder, rape, etc.). Brett Miler

Posted by: Brett Miler | Aug 1, 2023 6:32:01 PM

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