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Race and juvenile transfers into the adult court system

One thing that has very big impacts on a juvenile accused of a crime is whether their case remains in the juvenile system or gets transferred into the adult system. Being convicted of a crime in the adult court system could expose a kid to all kinds of severe consequences. These consequences could impact many things for a juvenile in the long-run, including possibly their likelihood of landing in the criminal justice system again in the future. Statistics point to recidivism rates being higher among juvenile offenders who end up in the adult system than is the case for those who stay in the juvenile system.

One of the things this underscores is how much the specifics of what happens in their case, including whether they are charged as a juvenile or as an adult, could affect the life and future of a juvenile accused of a crime. So, when a juvenile is facing criminal charges, it can be important for them to have someone in their corner to fight to ensure they are treated fairly in proceedings and that their rights are being properly protected. This underscores the important role strong defense representation can play in juvenile cases.

Additionally, the major impacts being transferred into the adult court system can have for a kid means that serious concerns can be raised when racial disparities are present when it comes to such transfers. Data points to such disparities being present here in Florida.

According to the numbers, of the juveniles in the state who end up being transferred into the adult court system, 68 percent are black. So, black individuals make up a much larger proportion of juvenile transfers than they do of:

  • Florida’s population (17 percent).
  • The state’s adult prison inmates (47 percent).
  • Juvenile arrests in the state (around half).

There is debate over what this disparity means regarding fairness in juvenile transfers in the state and what should be done in response. One wonders what will happen in upcoming years here in Florida when it comes to juvenile transfers and the level of racial disparity in such transfers.

Source: McClatchy DC Bureau, “In many states, black juveniles end up in adult court in high numbers,” Christopher Huffaker, June 22, 2017

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