Juvenility and punishment: Sentencing juveniles in adult criminal court

Megan C. Kurlychek, Brian D. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

The study outlined in this article addressed a key limitation of prior research on the punishment of juveniles transferred to adult court by employing propensity score matching techniques to create more comparable samples of juvenile and young adult offenders. Using recent data from the Maryland State Commission on Criminal Sentencing Policy, it tested competing theoretical propositions about the salience of juvenile status in adult court. Findings indicate that even after rigorous statistical matching procedures, juvenile offenders are punished more severely than their young adult counterparts. We found no evidence that this " juvenile penalty" is exacerbated by an offender's race or gender, but it does vary starkly across offense type and mode of transfer, being driven primarily by drug crimes and discretionary waivers. The import of these findings is discussed as they relate to the future of juvenile justice policy regarding the continued use of juvenile transfer to adult court.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-758
Number of pages34
JournalCriminology
Volume48
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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