Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Court is Not Correlated with Falling Youth Violence

databit201205Butts, Jeffrey A. (2012). Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Court is Not Correlated with Falling Youth Violence. Research and Evaluation Data Bits [2012-05]. New York, NY: Research and Evaluation Center, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York.

At first glance, it may appear that the greater use of transfer lowered violent youth crime, but this argument is refuted by a simple analysis of crime trends. In the six states that allow fair comparisons (i.e., where all juveniles ages 16-17 are originally subject to juvenile court jurisdiction and sufficient data exist for the calculations), the use of criminal court transfer bears no relationship to changes in juvenile violence. The 1995-2010 drop in violent crime ranged from –50% to –74% in these states, but the size of the decline was not related to the use of transfer. Florida transfers more youth than any other state, but its violent crime drop (–57%) was in the middle of the range. In states that use transfer much less often, total violent crime fell almost as much (California and Washington) or far more (Ohio) than it did in Florida.