Juveniles in Adult Prisons

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Juveniles in Adult Prisons

Juveniles in Adult Prisons
Term Project

A deep look into juveniles in adult prisons. Touch bases on several smaller issues that
contribute to juveniles being in and effects of adult prisons. The United States Bureau
of Prisons handles two hundred and thirty-nine juveniles and their average age is
seventeen. Execution of juveniles, The United States is one of only six countries to
execute juveniles. There are sixty-eight juveniles sitting on death row for crimes
committed as juveniles. Forty-three of those inmates are minorities. People, who are too
young to vote, drink alcohol, or drive are held to the same standard of responsibility as
adults. In prisons, they argue that the juveniles become targets of older, more hardened

Brian Stevenson, Director of the Alabama Capital Resource Center said, “We have totally
given up in the idea of reform of rehabilitation for the very young. We are basically
saying we will throw those kids away.

Leading To Prison

Juvenile Justice Bulletin Report shows that two-thirds of juveniles apprehended for
violent offenses were released or put on probation. Only slightly more than one-third of
youths charged with homicide was transferred to adult criminal court. Little more than
one out of every one hundred New York youths arrested for muggings, beatings, rape and
murder ended up in a correctional institution. Another report showed a delinquent boy has
to be arrested on average thirteen times before the court will act more restrictive than
probation. Laws began changing as early as 1978 in New York to try juveniles over 12 who
commit violent crimes as adults did. However, even since the laws changed only twenty
percent of serious offenders served any time.

The decision of whether to waive a juvenile to the adult or criminal court is made in a
transfer hearing. The two major criteria for waiver are the age of the child and type of
offense alleged in the petition. Some jurisdictions require the child to be over a
certain age and charged with a felony, while others permit waiver if the child is over a
certain age regardless of offense. Still yet, others have no conditions. Juveniles can
be tried in all stated in one of three ways:

1. Concurrent Jurisdiction: the prosecutor has the discretion of filing charge offenses
in either juvenile or criminal court.

2. Excluded offenses: the legislature excludes from juvenile court jurisdiction certain
offenses that are either very minor, such as traffic or fishing violations, or very
serious, such as murder or rape.

3. Judicial waiver: the juvenile court waives its jurisdiction and transfers the case to criminal court.
Barry Feld, Juvenile Law Scholar, suggests that waivers to adult court be mandatory for
serious crimes. Those espousing the crime control model believe that the overriding
purpose is protection of the public, deterrence or violent juvenile behavior, and the
incarceration of serious youthful offenders in the adult criminal justice system. The
rehabilitative justice model view this as an attack on the juvenile justice system, but
crime control advocates consider such steps a necessary response to a rising juvenile
violence rate.

Life in Adult Prison
The Southwest Multi County Corrections Center, a two-story adult jail is the largest
maximum-security program for juveniles under federal authority. The BOP pays $99.80 a day
for each juvenile. About half of the juveniles are over two hundred and fifty miles from
home. Distance is on the main criticisms of putting juveniles in the BOP system. Most
experts agree that for rehabilitation to succeed, families of jailed youths should be
involved in their therapy and lives. Larry Beredtro, President of Reclaiming Youth
International, address “Obviously, the government needs to cease using nonregional
placement for kids. My concern has been with the issue of the federal government placing
kids hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. The facility Director Norbert Sickler
says “the facility helps pay travel expenses for some families and offers free
accommodations in the area. We do encourage the kids to keep family connections both by
writing and telephone also.” The BOP does plan to house all federal juveniles within two
hundred and fifty miles of their homes by fiscal year 2000. Staff attorney for the Youth
Law Center says even that might not be good enough. He stresses the point that no strong
after-care programs are set up so therefore is no transition back to the community.
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