Do Transferred Juveniles Remain in Adult Criminal Court?: Understanding Legislative Waiver and Decertification

Kareem L. Jordan, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

ABSTRACT
There has been a great deal of research surrounding transferring juvenile offenders to adult court. However, many transferred offenders are decertified, meaning they are transferred back to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. To date, there has been no known empirical research on the decertification process. This paper will review the literature on juvenile transfer and present a proposal for gaining an empirical understanding of the decertification process, using both quantitative and qualitative methods. More specifically, he presentation will focus on three areas. First, the study will attempt to identify the key predictors of decertification to juvenile court. Second, case outcomes will be compared between decertified offenders and those who remain in criminal court. Finally, the study will assess differences in recidivism between the two groups. County level data from Pennsylvania will be employed, where a 1996 legislative waiver law set the stage for decertification to become an important area for research.

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Updated 05/20/2006