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More teens are avoiding adult courts

On Behalf of | Jun 14, 2022 | Criminal Defense

A historic shift has taken place in New York. A great many fewer juvenile offenders are being sent to adult courts. This sweeping change has also been a factor in the rest of the U.S. As a result, many experts believe that more teens are getting the help they need to avoid turning into hardened career criminals.

Fewer teens are now facing adult courts

Police departments all across the nation are providing data on a very interesting matter of criminal defense. According to these reports, the number of teens being sent to adult courts dropped from 8% all the way down to 2%. Some of this may have had to do with the pandemic lockdown. However, the trend does seem to be holding true.

Instead of having to face adult courts and the threat of adult prison, more teens are being sent back down to the juvenile system. They can also be referred to specially created community programs. By accessing these, they can get peer mediation, counseling, and other help. The idea is to keep them out of trouble.

Some experts have claimed that this is a bad trend because it encourages too much leniency. They believe that a juvenile offender only has one real chance to be scared away from crime for life. However, others feel that justice is better served by getting to the roots of the problem via community outreach programs.

The age of adult prosecution is rising

The age of 18 is considered by most states to be the age at which an offender is treated as an adult. As a result, most youthful offenders have a good chance of being able to avoid being tried in adult court. The exception is for violent crimes such as murder or rape.

Studies have shown that locking juveniles up with adults is psychologically harmful. Giving them extra chances may be the best way to help them and society. The hope is that doing so will give youthful offenders more chances to turn their lives around before it is too late.

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