Juvenile offenders

Juvenile offenders

Juvenile offenders are categorized as offenders aged below the age of 18 years.  The option of transferring these offenders to adult jurisdictions has been ongoing since the inception of these courts. Various reasons has contributed to this including inadequacy of punishment on serious offenses and the propensity to continue offending after release also called recidivism among others. Various researches have been carried out on this aspect of transferring juvenile to adult courts c with different recommendations. This discussion, reviews an article, “Differential Effects of Adult Court Transfer on Juvenile Offender Recidivism” by Loughran et al. (2010) in the law and human behavior journal.

The article sought to investigate on the effects on the ability of the juveniles to repeat offenses if they are taken to adult courts.  It is expected that juveniles below the age of 14 years are tried by juvenile courts and not adult jurisdiction. The article notes that there are null effects of transfer on re-arrest (Loughran et al. 2010). Most of the  juveniles that may be taken to adult courts are not prone to recidivism therefore it means that even if the juveniles are taken to the adult courts, there is less differential in their behaviors on their release. Even though, various studies have indicated that juvenile offenders that are transferred to adult courts have higher chances of recidivism, this study does not support this conclusion. Furthermore, the study notes that evaluation of effects of transfers for transferred adolescents may not be appropriate as it might lead to misguided policy conclusions.

There is also evidence of possible differential effects on transfer despite the null effects that depends on the type of charge (Loughran et al. 2010).  Those juveniles charged with personal crimes have lower rates of being re-arrested. This therefore means that the kinds of crimes play a key role in the recidivism of these transferred juvenile offenders.

The article concludes by proposing further studies on the factors not addressed in the study. It further notes that the transfer of juveniles in courts may lead to other problems such as labeling and developmental barriers that trickle, back to the individual and the society (Loughran et al. 2010). Therefore, this area requires more studies to enhance understanding. The economic costs involved in juvenile and adults’ correctional facilities need to be factored in debates and discussions.

Accordingly, my opinion about the topic is that, even though there may be no recidivism among juveniles taken to adult courts, I find it right for the juveniles not to be transferred in adult courts. This will help to avoid psychological problems among the juveniles on their release. They may not be able to cope well in these adult courts because they may be psychologically affected. These transfers should only be done to juveniles approaching the age of 18 years and who committed serious crimes requiring harsher penalties.

The article is well written and organized to enhance understanding.  The article is also credible owing to the fact that it was carried out in the field. The researchers used a sample of 654 serious juvenile offenders out of which 29% were transferred. There was no bias in the sample selection because of the use of propensity score matching. The researchers are also expertis in the areas of juvenile courts and criminology in general. The article has an abstract that provides an overview of what the entire article is all about. Other sections include the methodology, results and discussion sections. Information is also well researched and substantiated with other credible sources which have made the article reliable. Therefore, this article can be adopted by legal institutions to help them in finding effective ways and to gain understanding on aspects of transfer of juveniles to adult jurisdiction.



Loughran, T et al. (2010). Differential Effects of Adult Court Transfer on Juvenile Offender       Recidivism, Law & Human Behavior (Springer Science & Business Media B.V.), 34(6):             476-488.


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