Home > Policies > Youth Justice Policy > Legislative Priorities > End the automatic charging of youth as adults.

For certain statutorily defined offenses, children have their cases automatically transferred to adult criminal court. It is currently possible for a case so transferred to be reverse-transferred back to juvenile court, but better still would be a system where all youth cases, even for the more serious offenses, begin at juvenile court. Transfers, if they happen, ought to be done on an individualized basis rather than as an automatic, mandatory matter over which judges have no discretion. Advocates for Children and Youth will work to pass a bill that will end the automatic transfer of children to adult court.

UPDATE:
February 16, 2016
Rais Akbar, juvenile justice policy director, submitted written and oral testimony in support of SB243, a bill that would end the automatic charging of youth as adults.  To read the testimony, click here.

May 31, 2016
Unfortunately, all bills to end automatic charging failed in the 2016 General Assembly session.  We are disappointed that lawmakers were unconvinced of the wisdom of scaling back the overuse of automatic charging.  But we intend to keep pushing for this reform in future session.