Transfer of Juveniles to the Adult Criminal Court Jurisdiction

Transferof Juveniles to the Adult Criminal Court Jurisdiction

Transferof Juveniles to the Adult Criminal Court Jurisdiction

Thearticle ‘Transfer of Juveniles to the Adult Criminal JusticeSystem’ by JanetAinsworthexemplifies the reasons that make it necessary for court transfers.The author also discusses the factors that make such court transfersineffective and inadequate to deter juveniles from committing acrime. The juvenile court was established to deal with youthfuloffenders who could not be rehabilitated in the adult court system.Nonetheless, from the beginning the court acknowledged that it was agargantuan task to deal with young irredeemable offenders (Mulvey &ampSchubert, 2012). In the United States, Judges in such courts havebeen accorded powers to transfer young offenders into the adult courtsystem where necessary. In the past, such transfers were reservedonly to young offenders, who were charged with grave crime thatcalled for length sentences, but the situation has changed and judgeshave powers to waive juvenile courts even for offenders who arecharged with less grave offenses, but who pose a substantial threatto social order and security (Ainsworth,2013).

Transferof Juvenile to Adult Courts

Inthe United States, some jurisdictions even permit prosecutorialwaivers whereby prosecutors have the authority to throw particularyouths unswervingly to adult courts devoid of a judicial proceedingon the matter. Though discretionary waivers can be contested, theverdict of a judge is final since such an appeal must wait till thejuvenile offender ‘’ages out’’ of the court (Ainsworth,2013). In the recent past, many states have enacted statutes thatcall for direct transfer of juvenile delinquents into adult courts.More often than not majority of such legislations covers grave crimesand vicious offenses.

Themain reason behind such legislation and statues of mandatory waiverwas the idea that juveniles in the full realization that they wouldbe remitted in adult criminal courts where they would encounterrelatively hefty sanctions for their actions. Mandatory waiver forgrave criminal conduct was meant to deter youths from committingoffences, since such actions would be punished heftily (Ainsworth,2013). Over the years, the transfer of juvenile into adult courts asper the guidance of the mandatory waiver has had little effect indeterring youths from committing a crime.

Juveniletransfers have considerably increased because of the many statuesthat have given way for waiver procedures. For example, mandatorytransfers for grave offences by juveniles in Cook County, in thestate of Illinois have tripled in the past two decades (Ainsworth,2013).

Surprisingly,though transfer of juvenile offenders to adult criminal courts waspegged on the wish by judicial system to be tough on young criminals,it is remains to be seen whether youths tried in adult courts receiveharsher penalties than what they would normally get if tried on ajuvenile court (Ainsworth,2013). Many studies have revealed that juvenile tried in adultcriminal courts receive lesser penalties in relation to adultoffenders who go through the same system. Astonishingly, some studieshave even revealed that many receive lighter penalties for theiroffences that they would receive if tried in a juvenile system. Thishas been linked to the fact that majority of those transferred to theadult criminal courts are property offenders, who receive shortsentences. Besides, conviction in adult courts is complex and rifewith many procedural bottlenecks (Ainsworth,2013). As a consequence majority of the juvenile cases transferred toadult courts are either exonerated or dismissed altogether.


Itis, therefore, not surprising that the author of this article,JanetAinsworth,finds no justification for transfer of juvenile offenders into adultcourt system. As aforementioned, young offenders transferred to adultcourts receive lighter penalties and no meaningful effects inreducing juvenile delinquency have been realized through suchtransfers. Nonetheless, it’s paramount that juvenile transfers whocommit grave offences are tried in adult criminal courts, becauseincorrigible young criminals may not react appropriately torehabilitative disposition used in juvenile systems.


Ainsworth,J.E. (2013).TheCourt`s Effectiveness in Protecting the Rights of Juveniles inDelinquency Cases: Transferof Juveniles to the Adult Criminal Justice System.The Future of Children. Princeton Brookings. Retrieved from:

Mulvey,P.E, &amp Schubert, A. (2012). Transfer ofJuvenile to Adult Court: Effects of a Broad Policy in One Court.U.S Department of Justice: Office of Juvenile Justice and DelinquencyPrevention. Retrieved from: