Transfer of Juveniles to Criminal Court

Barry C. Feld, Donna M. Bishop

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


Transfer of juvenile offenders for adult prosecution provides the nexus between the deterministic, rehabilitative premises of juvenile justice and the freewill, punishment assumptions of criminal justice. This article analyzes the history, implementation, and consequences of changes in transfer laws over the past few decades. It places transfer decisions in a broader sentencing policy context, examining alternative transfer strategies, and reviews evaluations of their implementation. It also explores legislative approaches and the characteristics of youths transferred under each regime. Furthermore, it considers the sentencing policy goals of transfer and assays to what extent transfers of jurisdiction achieve goals of retribution, general deterrence, incapacitation, specific deterrence, or the recognition of youths' diminished criminal responsibility. Finally, the article presents a prescriptive conclusion about appropriate waiver policies for juvenile courts, suggesting a review of judges' waiver decisions by appellate courts and develop general sentencing principles to define a consistent boundary of adulthood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice
EditorsBarry C. Feld, Donna M. Bishop
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199940776
ISBN (Print)9780195385106
StatePublished - Dec 23 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2012 by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


  • Adult prosecution
  • Juvenile offenders
  • Sentencing policy
  • Transfer laws
  • Transfer strategies
  • Waiver decisions


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