For the first time in more than a decade, the U.S. Department of Justice is attempting to gather data about the least-known group of juvenile offenders: youths who are transferred into the adult criminal court system, reports Youth Today. The Bureau of Justice Statistics is funding research organization Westat Inc. to conduct the survey. A recent study of Baltimore's transferred youth suggests that further questions loom about what happens after the decision to move a juvenile to the adult system.
Westat was chosen for the $500,000 grant and will work with subcontractor the National Center for Juvenile Justice (NCJJ) on the project. The report probably won't be published until after the 2012 elections. The most obvious question is exactly how many youth are sent to adult court? There is no credible answer now, either at the state or national level. The advocacy group Campaign for Youth Justice uses the estimate of between 200,000 and 250,000 juveniles prosecuted every year in adult courts. That figure includes juveniles who are tried as adults because the state in which they are charged has an age of jurisdiction below 18.