The Effect of Downward Shifts in Maximum Jurisdictional Age of Juvenile Court on the Age Distribution of Arrests: Reports on Some National Samples

Franklin Zimring, University of California at Berkeley
Jeffrey Fagan, Columbia University
Aaron Kupchik, New York University

Over a century after its birth, the juvenile court now operates in the shadow of intense concern about adolescent violence. This presentation addresses the effects of legislation passed in that shadow for the theory and practice of juvenile justice. We estimate the comparative deterrence effects of juvenile versus criminal court sanctions for violent and other serious young offenders. The research examines age-specific offending rates for a critical age range of adolescents and young adults under different sanctioning contexts and court jurisdictions, using age progression as the primary tool to assess age-graded crime control policies. We will present the results of three tests of such policies and their effects on age-specific arrest rates: a test of the effect of different states' general jurisdictional ages, a test of the impact of Wisconsin's changing general jurisdiction age, and a test of the effect of New York and Florida's policies excluding youth from juvenile court.

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Updated 05/20/2006