Sentencing for juvenile crimes is discretionary based on individual state opinions and law. However, every single state has at least one legal bylaw which allows juveniles to be tried in adult courts based on the severity of their crimes. These provisions are put in place to allow for two separate but equal assumptions:
- Severe crimes, no matter what age they are committed, deserve equal punishment.
- The threat of harsher punishments will deter juveniles from committing these types of crimes in the first place.
Unfortunately, these assumptions aren’t proving to be as accurate as previously thought.
Juvenile Risks in Adult Court Verdicts
The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates that over 7,000 juveniles each year are convicted in criminal courts and sentenced as adults. Although these sentences are based on individual crimes, felony status, and severity of violence or damage inflicted—the form of punishment is considered questionable by many.
The basic notion behind judicial justice is to rehabilitate the guilty in order to preserve their—hopefully crime-free—future. However, when it comes to severe crimes, adult sentencing completely goes against this notion of rehabilitation.
Recent studies have found that besides the lack of crime rate changes, adult tried juvenile statistics are actually much worse than anticipated. Risks include:
- Educational disadvantages. Minors in criminal justice systems have less access to education and other age-specific programming than those in the juvenile justice system, putting them at a serious disadvantage upon release.
- Higher victimization rates. Minors have an increased risk for both sexual and physical violence within adult prisons and confinement.
- Higher risk of suicide. Due to higher victimization, longer punishments, and psychological immaturity, depression and suicide can run rampant for youths in adult systems.
- Increased chance for re-arrest. Rates among previously convicted minors are higher than those for any other age group for repeat offenses. Even low-risk minors in the criminal justice system have re-arrest rates twice as high as low-risk juvenile offenders.
- Poor rehabilitation. An astonishing 85 percent of juveniles tried in the adult court system are repeat offenders, compared to 15 percent over those retained in the juvenile justice system
Defending Your Future
Felonies, violent crimes, and sexually explicit transgressions can all be considered severe enough to be prosecuted in an adult court, with adult crime punishments. If you need help defending yourself, or need an experienced criminal attorney for the defense of a loved one, contact us today. We know what’s at risk, and we’ll fight to make sure justice is upheld for everyone involved. Don’t allow a stupid decision to be blown out of proportion and affect the rest of your life. Call today to review your options and get the defense you deserve.
Juvenile crimes have become an increasingly alarming problem in the United States. Help lower the chances that your loved ones, or friends will become part of this statistic. Share these risks via Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, and maybe, just maybe, you can stop a juvenile crime before it even happens. It doesn’t hurt to pass along the information, but it may hurt to keep it to yourself. Please, share now!