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The Power Politics of Juvenile Court Transfer in the 1990s

The Power Politics of Juvenile Court Transfer in the 1990s

Chapter:
(p.37) 2 The Power Politics of Juvenile Court Transfer in the 1990s
Source:
Choosing the Future for American Juvenile Justice
Author(s):
Franklin E. Zimring
Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9781479816873.003.0003

This chapter discusses two major differences between U.S. juvenile and criminal courts in the 1990s. The first was a difference in the level of secure confinement imposed on offenders, with criminal courts much more punitive than juvenile courts. The second was a substantially different allocation of power between judges and prosecutors. Criminal courts were run by a plea-bargaining dynamic which gave prosecutors much more power than judges, while juvenile courts conferred much more power on judges and probation staff. The chapter argues that the primary struggle in maintaining the juvenile court's delinquency jurisdiction was the attempt to expand prosecutorial power in juvenile justice. Whatever the general age boundaries imposed by state legislation between juvenile and criminal court, there are always special proceedings that may facilitate the transfer of youth from the juvenile to the criminal court.

Keywords:   criminal courts, juvenile courts, secure confinement, delinquency jurisdiction, prosecutorial power

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