Crime and Justice
Within the past decade, nearly every state has amended its juvenile code in response to perceived increases in serious, persistent, and violent youth crime. These changes diminish the jurisdiction of juvenile courts as judicial decisions and statutory changes transfer more youths from juvenile courts to criminal courts so that young offenders can be sentenced as adults. Amendments to juvenile sentencing laws increase the punitiveness of sanctions available to juvenile court judges. Other strategies attempt to "blend," or merge, juvenile and criminal court jurisdiction and sentencing authority over violent young offenders. These "get tough" policies affect the numbers and types of youths confined in adult and juvenile correctional facilities and pose fundamental problems for administrators in both systems; accelerate procedural, jurisprudential, and substantive convergence between the juvenile and criminal justice systems; and erode the rationale for a separate juvenile court.
Barry C. Feld, Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems' Responses to Youth Violence, 24 Crime & Just. 189 (1998), available at http://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/298.