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What happens to adolescents once placed in the criminal justice system and the potential violations of human rights that ensue is the focus of this essay. The pace of change, the severity of the new laws, the potential for unintended negative outcomes, and the empirical reality of adult punishment of juvenile offenders creates new urgency to these questions. Unfortunately, there has been little analysis of the comparative effects of statutes and administrative laws that relocate juvenile offenders to the adult court, and there has been virtually no research on the efficacy, impact and consequences of sentencing juveniles as adults. There also has not been a careful examination of the costs and benefits of "get tough" policies, in particular the mechanisms underlying the unintended consequences of "getting tough" on adolescents. Finally, there have been no efforts to reconcile the theoretical dimensions of the legal threshold of adolescence with theory and research on adolescent development and the natural history of adolescent criminality.


Criminal Law | Criminal Procedure | Juvenile Law | Law