Eleven states (Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Nevada, Hawaii, Virginia,
Pennsylvania, Texas, Oregon, and Ohio) have passed laws limiting states’
authority to house youth in adult jails and prisons.
ver the past eight years, twen-ty three states have enactedforty pieces of legislation to re-duce the prosecution of youth inadult criminal courts and end theplacement of youth in adult jailsand prisons.This report highlights the keypieces of legislation enacted be-tween 2011 and 2013.In 2013 alone, several statesmoved toward reducing the pros-ecution of youth in adult court andremoving children from adult jailsand prisons. Illinois Governor PatQuinn signed legislation in July2013 that raises the age of juve-nile court jurisdiction to 18, andMassachusetts enacted similarlegislation. Missouri passed “Jon-athan’s Law” to give more youthan opportunity at rehabilitationin the juvenile justice system in-stead of the adult criminal justicesystem. Also, both the MarylandGeneral Assembly and NevadaState Assembly created task forcesto examine the issue of automatictransfer, which allows prosecutorsto bypass the juvenile courts andprosecute youth directly in crimi-nal courts. Finally, the Nevada andIndiana legislatures approved leg-islation to keep more kids out of adult jails and prisons.
documents the continuation of four trends injustice reform efforts across the country and in the lasteight years the following progress was made:
Four states (Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, and Massachusetts) have expandedtheir juvenile court jurisdiction so that older youth who previously would beautomatically tried as adults are not prosecuted in adult criminal court.
Twelve states (Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Ohio, Maryland, and Nevada) have changed their transferlaws making it more likely that youth will stay in the juvenile justice system.
Eight states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Texas, Missouri, Ohio, andWashington) have changed their mandatory minimum sentencing laws to take intoaccount the developmental differences between youth and adults, allow for post-sentence review for youth facing juvenile life without parole or other sentencingreform for youth sentenced as adults.