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Ethical Analysis of Juvenile Waivers

            "The practice of transferring juveniles for trial and sentencing in adult criminal court has produced the unintended effect of increasing recidivism, particularly in violent offenders, and thereby of promoting life course criminality. " [Cen07] There are two sides to every coin. There are two sides to every story. The same can be said for the juvenile waiver process in the juvenile court system. A juvenile waiver is the procedure of transferring, or "waiving " a juvenile offender from juvenile jurisdiction up to the criminal adult jurisdiction within the court system. There are both benefits and drawbacks for staying within the juvenile jurisdiction. It is this policy of the juvenile waiver that will be examined on whether it is ethical or unethical. .
             When the Juvenile Justice System was created in the nineteenth century the idea was to create a place where children were still punished for criminality, yet would not be subject to the harshness of being in the adult criminal courts. By the early 1950's most of the states in America had their own waiver statues for juveniles, which were decided on a case-by-case basis within the court. This decision was usually left up to the juvenile judge. It wasn't until after 1970 that states began implementing laws making certain cases automatic, or subject to more examination. This came about with the idea that certain juvenile offenders can, and do, sometimes commit such heinous criminal acts that they should be subjected to criminal adult court. "By the mid-1980s, nearly all states had judicial waiver laws, 20 states had automatic transfer laws, and 7 had prosecutorial discretion laws." [Off11] Those are the three different types of waivers that are still around today. .
             The judicial waiver allows "juvenile courts to waive jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis, opening the way for criminal prosecution. A case that is subject to waiver is filed originally in juvenile court but may be transferred with a judge's approval, based on articulated standards, following a formal hearing.

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