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Deterrence Effects of Adjudicating and Sentencing Juvenile Offenders as Adults

All states in the United States have laws providing that, under certain circumstances, serious or repeat juvenile offenders can be adjudicated and/or sentenced as adults. In addition to serving the retributive need for punishment, these laws were enacted largely in the hopes that they would deter juvenile crime and reduce recidivism among youthful offenders. Since 1990, empirical studies have been conducted to ascertain whether these laws are having the intended effect of reducing recidivism. The studies inform legal policies and practices on handling serious and chronic juvenile offenders.

Types of State Transfer Laws

The so-called juvenile transfer or waiver laws differ in the circumstances under which juvenile offenders may or must be transferred from the juvenile system to be adjudicated and/or sentenced as adults, the procedural mechanisms ...

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