- Report Published -
|Serious Juvenile Offenders |
|Virginia Commission on Youth|
|HJR 36 (1992)|
| Virginia, along with the rest of the nation, is grappling with finding appropriate and effective strategies to intervene with the serious juvenile offender. The violent juvenile offender requires a tremendous expenditure of resources from the law enforcement phase through prosecution and disposition. As the nature of juvenile crime has changed there has been a concurrent need to review the adequacy of the existing legal and correctional systems which have been established to respond to this population. House Joint Resolution 36 directed the Commission on Youth to study the serious juvenile offender with the goal of assessing the adequacy of the transfer statutes and making recommendations for improvement. A Task Force was established and federal funds were secured to aid the Commission in its efforts.|
House Joint Resolution 36 Task Force study activities have focused on for issues:
* defining the population of juveniles who have been convicted in Circuit Court by offense and service history,
* comparing transferred and convicted juveniles to those retained in the juvenile justice system and committed to Learning Centers,
* identifying jurisdictional variations in the reliance on the transfer option, and
* identifying those factors that influence the decision-making process for "transfer eligible: juveniles.
With only the first phase of the data analysis complete, the Commission on Youth is requesting continuation of the study for an additional year. The paucity of existing automated data on this population has made the research effort very time consuming. An additional year is needed to review the data and make thorough, conclusive legislative recommendations. Given the importance of the transfer issue and its far reaching impact on the juvenile and criminal justice systems, additional time is required to ensure the involvement and consideration of various points of view.
This report details findings from the data analysis to date, presents a workplan for the second year research, and summarizes the testimony form the public hearings held across the state this past summer and fall. There are seven recommendations from the Commission on Youth based on the first year of study. Brief summaries of the key findings are listed below. The findings are based on analyses of juveniles between the ages of fifteen and seventeen that were arrested for transferable crimes as defined in 16.1-269 Code of Virginia (murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, auto theft, and drug sales) for years 1988 through 1990.