The focus of the juvenile justice system is to rehabilitate juvenile offenders, rather than to imprison and punish like the systems adult counterpart. According to Caldwell (1961) the juvenile justice system is based on the principle that youth are developmentally and fundamentally different from adults. This has lead to the development of a separate justice system for juveniles that was initially designed to assist troubled juveniles providing them with protection, treatment, and guidance. When performing as it is designed and up to the initial intentions, the juvenile court balances rehabilitation (treatment) of the offender with suitable sanctions when necessary such as incarceration. ...view middle of the document...
According to Fagan (2008) an estimated 260,000 juveniles are waived to adult court each year.
Mechanisms of waiver to adult court.
According to Mears (2003) in 1999, juvenile courts waved less than 1 % of the 1.7 million cases that were referred to the juvenile courts. According to Griffin (2008) ever since the initial installment of the juvenile court system judges were able to designate cases that met certain criteria to adult court. This process is described as the “jurisdictional transfer”. According to Griffin, Addie, Adams, and Firestine (2011) jurisdictional transfer laws drastically differ on a state by state basis. Griffin (2008) stated that all of the laws fall into one of the three primary mechanisms for transfer to adult court: judicial waiver laws, statutory exclusion laws, and prosecutorial discretion or concurrent jurisdiction laws. Kupchik (2006) stated that the core mechanism for transfer to adult court in the past was initially judicial waiver/transfer laws. According to Fagan (2008) judicial waiver is the process in the juvenile court in which the judge has been granted the authority to waive juvenile court jurisdiction and transfer the juvenile offender’s case to adult court.
According to Mears (2003) on an annual basis only 1% of all processed delinquency cases are waived to adult court through judicial waiver. Griffin, et al., (2011) stated that the judicial waiver laws allow the juvenile to be prosecuted in criminal court by the order of the judge. Prior to a juvenile’s judges decision to waive the case, a formal hearing is conducted. During this hearing based off of the evidence and the charges a judge can approve the waiver for transfer to adult court. According to Fagan (2008) the right for juveniles to receive a formal hearing prior to the waiver decision was decided following Kent v. United States, in which the court decided that all waiver conditions that were designated by the Kent. United States decision must be met before the judge’s consideration of a waiver to adult court. According to Sullivan (lecture, 2/27/2014) conditions that must be met prior to a waiver by the juvenile judge are at a minimum: age requirement, a specific type offense, and a previous record of delinquency. Fagan (2008) stated that judicial waiver is a common transfer law that is used by forty-seven states in American.
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