Age, Crime, and Sanctions

The Transition from Juvenile to Adult Court

by Peter W. Greenwood, Joan R. Petersilia, Franklin Zimring

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This exploration of how youthful offenders — ages 16 to 21 — are treated during that time period when legal responsibility for dealing with their criminal behavior shifts from the juvenile to the adult courts shows a wide variability in procedures and policies among the jurisdictions studied. Using a national survey of prosecutors conducted for the study and existing datasets from Los Angeles County, Franklin County (Ohio), and New York City, the study concentrates on three areas: the relationship between age and crime seriousness, the effect of age on criminal sanctions, and the degree of information-sharing that goes on between the juvenile and criminal courts.

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