Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Case For Juvenile Courts

Thanks to Doc Berman at Sentencing Law and Policy for this...

This country made a terrible mistake when it began routinely trying youthful offenders as adults. This get-tough approach was supposed to deter crime. But a growing number of government-financed studies have shown that minors prosecuted as adults commit more crimes — and are more likely to become career criminals — than ones processed through juvenile courts.

The value of specialized courts for young people is underscored in a new report from the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. After evaluating the available research, it concludes that transferring juveniles for trial and sentencing to an adult criminal court has increased recidivism, especially among violent offenders, and has led many young people to a permanent life of crime.

The juvenile justice system was one of the great reforms of the Progressive Era. The push to go back to trying children as adults began in the mid-1990s, when state lawmakers fixated on a few, high-profile crimes by young people and — convinced there was a youth crime wave — came up with a politically convenient solution.

Young people who commit serious, violent crimes deserve severe punishment. But reflexively transferring juvenile offenders — many of whom are accused of nonviolent crimes — into the adult system is not making anyone safer. When they are locked up with adults, young people learn criminal behaviors. They are also deprived of the counseling and family support that they would likely get in the juvenile system, which is more focused on rehabilitation. And once they are released, their felony convictions make it hard for them to find a job and rebuild their lives.

Nearly every state now has laws that encourage prosecutors to try minors as adults. The recent studies of this approach should lead legislatures to abandon these counterproductive policies.

New York Times


Anonymous said...

You need to tell the public the truth!!! Its a lot cheaper for our egotistical prosecutors to prosecute minors as adults. Thats the true reason.
Second if you apply the constitution, it doesnt change the words, minor to adult. Its the prosecutor that does and he really doesn't have the authority?
We are a nation operating on unconstitutional laws. Jurisprudence, where did it go?? djw

Anonymous said...

its all about money

Anonymous said...

It truly is all about money, if you have enough money your youth involved in a murder can be charged as a juvi how ever the youth from low-income Families are SLAMMED for life, by both the Police & the DA's!

Anonymous said...