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Looking Back and Thinking Forward: Examining the Consequences of Policies and Practices that Treat Juveniles as Adults

Jeffrey J. Shook

This article examines the consequences of legislative changes that eased the process of treating juveniles as adults. Overall, it finds evidence that there has been an increase in the number of juveniles sent to the criminal court and the majority either remain in the community or return to the community shortly after serving a jail or prison sentence. In light of geographic and racial/ethnic disparities in transfer, differences in the programs and services offered to youth in the juvenile and criminal justice systems, and higher rates of recidivism among transferred offenders, the article supports the contention of many scholars and advocates that there is a need for policy and practice reform.