Archive for March, 2011

State Trends: Legislative Changes from 2005 to 2010 Removing Youth from the Adult Criminal Justice System published by the Campaign for Youth Justice provides the latest information about youth in the adult justice system. The first half of the report explains the dangers to youth, public safety, and the overall prosperity of our economy and future generations.  The second half of the report looks at legislative reforms aimed at removing youth from the criminal justice system by examining state juvenile justice legislation compiled by the National Juvenile Defender Center and the National Conference of State Legislatures. The legislative scan identified 15 states that have changed their state laws and eight more with active reform efforts underway in four categories:


  • Removing youth from adult jails and prisons
  • Raising the age of juvenile Court Jurisdiction
  • Changing transfer laws to keep more youth in juvenile court
  • Rethinking sentencing laws for youth


Virginia was profiled in the report for recent changes protecting youth from incarceration with adults and changing its “once an adult, always an adult” law.  The report can be found here.

The report’s release was covered by USA Today on March 16, 2011.


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There is a nationwide trend towards prosecuting fewer teenagers in adult courts.  This change has been prompted by recent developments in psychology and neurology as well as data showing that the trial and incarceration of youth as adults results in higher recidivism rates and other negative repercussions.  The New York Times reported on this trend this past weekend. Will Virginia follow suit?

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