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Are juvenile transfer laws effective and does it deter recidivism - Research Paper Example

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The research aims to identify the existing gap in the various researches conducted in this field, while recording the future scope and challenges in this arena, while discussing the chances of successful deterrence through transfer laws…
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Are juvenile transfer laws effective and does it deter recidivism
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Download file to see previous pages Recently many of the states have established many laws to that expands the scope and purview of the transfer laws under which the juvenile offenders may be directly prosecuted within the realms of an adult court. It was during the 1980s that many legal reforms were framed to bring in stringent measures as regards juvenile crime. One such reform of great significance was the amendment of transfer laws that led to an increase in their jurisdiction (Griffin, 2003). These changes allowed the inclusion of more offense types, and resulted in an increase in the number of young offenders becoming eligible for transfer from juvenile courts to the adult courts. These amendments elevated the total number of offenses that were regarded as being transfer-eligible offenses, lowered the necessary minimum age limit for allowing transfer eligibility, broadened discretionary powers of the prosecution, while decreasing the discretionary powers of the judiciary in taking decision related to transfer cases (Fagan and Zimring, 2000). A look at the amendments made in the state transfer laws show us that, in 1979 14 US States had transfer laws that allowed certain juvenile criminals to be prosecuted like adult criminals. However by 1995, we find there were 21 States with transfer laws in place, and in 2003, the number rose even further, where 31 States had transfer laws (Steiner and Hemmens, 2003). Furthermore the minimum age for end of juvenile court jurisdiction in 13 states were decreased to 15-16 years (Snyder and Sickmund, 2006, 64-70). In the face of these amendments, the number of juvenile offenders tried in adult criminal courts and later imprisoned in adult prison...
The paper tells that evidences from the study of the general deterrent effects of juvenile transfer laws are rather inconclusive and one cannot arrive to any derivations from these studies. The majority of the studies however tend to show that there is very little, or almost zero general deterrent effect, as regards deterring recidivism in the context of juvenile crimes, which are serious in nature. More research work is necessary for exploring the actual deterrent effects of transfer laws, under the appropriate conditions, on the juvenile offenders. On examining the issue of specific deterrence effects of transfers laws, it was found that were primarily six major published studies. These six studies suggested that juvenile offenders tried under adult criminal court laws tend to exhibit increased rates of recidivism after completing their prison term, than the young offenders tried under the juvenile laws. The scholars however do not clarify whether the transfer laws influence recidivism for property related crimes (non-violent types) and drug offenses. The six large-scale studies conducted on particular deterrent effects used large size of sample population (ranging from 494 to 5,476), varying research methodologies, examined various recidivism measures, and covered five States (Pennsylvania, New York, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Florida) each exhibiting varying sets of transfer laws (prosecutorial, automatic, or judicial types). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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