Juvenile Confinement

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Since 1992, forty-five states have passed or amended legislation making it easier to prosecute juveniles as adults. The result is that the number of youths under eighteen confined in adult prisons has more than doubled in the past decade. This phenomenon is challenging the belief, enshrined in our justice system a century ago, that children and young adolescents should be adjudicated and confined in a separate system focused on their rehabilitation.

—Nancy E. Gist, Director, Bureau of Justice Assistance, 2003


In most states offenders age eighteen or younger are considered juveniles and fall under the jurisdiction of juvenile courts rather than adult criminal courts. However, all states will prosecute juveniles as adults under some circumstances. According to the National Center for Juvenile Justice (http://ncjj.servehttp.com/NCJJWebsite/main.htm) in 2005:

  • "Forty-six states have judicial waiver provisions, in which juvenile court judges clear the way for criminal court prosecutions by waiving jurisdiction over individual juveniles. Under a waiver law, a case against an offender of juvenile age must at least originate in juvenile court; it cannot be channeled elsewhere without a juvenile court judge's formal approval. While all states prescribe standards that must be consulted in waiver decision-making, most leave the decision largely to the judge's discretion (forty-five states). However, some set up presumptions in favor of waiver in certain classes of cases (fifteen states), and some even specify circumstances under which waiver is mandatory (fifteen states)."
  • "Fifteen states have direct file laws, which leave it up to prosecutors to decide, at least in specified classes of cases, whether to initiate cases in juvenile or criminal courts."
  • "Twenty-nine states have statutory exclusion provisions that grant criminal courts original jurisdiction over certain classes of cases involving juveniles. Legislatures in these states have essentially predetermined the question of the appropriate forum for prosecution—taking the decision out of both prosecutors' and judges' hands."

As of March 2005, the OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book, maintained on the Internet by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), indicated that most states retain juvenile court jurisdiction over offenders seventeen years of age and younger. Those older are considered to be adults. In ten states, those sixteen and younger are juveniles. In Connecticut, New York, and North Carolina, juveniles are fifteen and younger. (See Table 7.1.)

According to the National Center for Juvenile Justice, since 1992 many states have tightened their laws concerning the criminal prosecution of juveniles. Between 1998 and 2002, eighteen states expanded the number of offenses that could transfer a juvenile's case into criminal court. In most cases, the change was an addition to the transfer-eligible list of offenses. Because of the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, in 1999, for example, three states (Illinois, Nevada, and New York) changed their transfer laws to include violent crimes committed on school property. Illinois, Maryland, and North Carolina changed their laws so that juveniles who have previously been tried as adults are ineligible to ever be tried in juvenile court.


Juvenile courts date to the late nineteenth century when Cook County, Illinois, established the first juvenile court under the Juvenile Court Act of 1899 passed by the state. The underlying concept was that if parents failed to

15Connecticut, New York, North Carolina
16Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin
17Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming

provide children with proper care and supervision, the state had the right to intervene benevolently. Other states followed Illinois's initiative. Juvenile courts were in operation in most states by 1925. Juvenile courts favored a rehabilitative rather than a punitive approach and evolved less formal approaches than those in place in adult courts. They had exclusive jurisdiction over juveniles. Adult courts could try a juvenile only if the juvenile court waived its jurisdiction.

This approach began to change in the 1950s and 1960s because rehabilitation techniques were judged to be ineffective. A growing number of juveniles were being institutionalized until they reached adulthood because "treatment" did not seem to modify their behavior. Under the impetus of a number of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, juvenile courts became more formal to protect juveniles' rights in waiver situations or if they were to be confined. Congress passed the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention and Control Act in 1968. The act suggested that so-called "status offenders" (noncriminal offenders such as runaways) no longer be handled inside the court system. The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 1974 mandated that juvenile offenders be separated from adult offenders. The act was amended in 1980; part of the amendment required that juveniles be removed from adult jails. In the 1970s the national policy became community-based management of juvenile delinquents.

Public perception changed again during the 1980s. Juvenile crime was growing, and the systems in place were perceived as being too lenient in dealing with delinquents. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report) public opinion was based on a "substantial misperception regarding increases in juvenile crime." Nonetheless, according to Juvenile Offenders and Victims, state legislatures responded in various ways:

Some laws removed certain classes of offenders from the juvenile justice system and handled them as adult criminals in criminal court. Others required the juvenile justice system to be more like the criminal justice system and to treat certain classes of juvenile offenders as criminals but in juvenile court.

As a result, offenders charged with certain offenses are excluded from juvenile court jurisdiction or face mandatory or automatic waiver to criminal court. In some states, concurrent jurisdiction provisions give prosecutors the discretion to file certain juvenile cases directly in criminal court.… In some states, some adjudicated juvenile offenders face mandatory sentences.

Juvenile Offenders and Victims: 1999 National Report, Chapter 4, p. 86.

From 1992 to 1997, forty-seven states and the District of Columbia changed their laws. Between 1998 and 2002, thirty-one states made further revisions, according to the National Center for Juvenile Justice. Nearly all states took significant steps to toughen up their laws by making it easier to transfer juveniles to criminal court. These legislative changes ushered in an era of incarcerating juvenile offenders at historically high rates.


During the period when the majority of states enacted tougher transfer, sentencing, and confidentiality statutes relating to juveniles, juveniles age ten to under eighteen declined as a proportion of total population from 13,482 per 100,000 in 1980 to 11,540 in 2000. Juvenile arrest and incarceration trends are thus not simply a reflection of a growing population of people in their teens—pure demographics, in other words—but some mix in behavior and the legislative/law enforcement response to that behavior.

Juvenile arrest rates for the crimes included in the FBI's Property Crime Index and Violent Crime Index are charted in Figure 7.1 and Figure 7.2 for the same period—during which the juvenile incarceration rate began to rise. Measured as arrests per 100,000 juveniles in the ten-to-seventeen age bracket, the data show both property and violent crime arrests decreasing at first from 1980 to around 1984. Property crime arrests then began increasing gradually while violent arrest rates began to climb more sharply by 1988. Arrest rates began to drop again in 1994 for both property and violent crimes, more steeply for violent crimes. The 2002 rates for both property and violent crimes were the lowest they had ever been during the twenty-two-year period covered.

Table 7.2 shows that 2.2 million juveniles were arrested in 2003. Thirty-two percent of these juveniles were under fifteen years of age. The majority of juveniles (463,300) were arrested for property crimes, while 92,300 were arrested for violent crimes. Of the violent

Percent of total juvenile arrestsPercent change
Most serious offenseNumber of juvenile arrestsFemaleUnder age 151994–031999–032002–03
Violent Crime Index92,3001833−32−90
Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter1,130911−68−1810
Forcible rape4,240237−25−119
Aggravated assault61,4902436−26−90
Property Crime Index463,3003237−38−153
Larceny −theft325,6003938−35−153
Motor vehicle theft44,5001725−52−154
Other assaults241,90032431055
Forgery and counterfeiting4,7003513−47−368
Stolen property (buying, receiving, possessing)24,3001527−46−195
Weapons (carrying, possessing, etc.)39,2001136−41−611
Prostitution and commercialized vice1,4006914312311
Sex offenses (except forcible rape and prostitution)18,300951233
Drug abuse violations197,100161719−34
Offenses against the family and children7,000393519−2419
Driving under the influence21,00020233−94
Liquor law violations136,90035104−226
Disorderly conduct193,00031411306
All other offenses (except traffic)379,8002728−2−121
Curfew and loitering136,5003029−1−188

crimes, aggravated assault was the most common (61,490 arrests), followed by robbery (25,440 arrests). Substance abuse was the cause of many arrests: 197,100 were arrested on drug abuse violations, 136,900 for liquor law violations, 21,000 for driving under the influence, and 17,600 for drunkenness.

In 2003 juvenile arrests made up 16% of all arrests in the nation, according to the OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book (Washington, DC: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, February 28, 2005). (See Figure 7.3.) Juveniles were arrested for 15% of all Violent Crime Index offenses and for 29% of all Property Crime Index offenses. Juveniles made up a particularly large percentage of the arrests for arson (51%), vandalism (39%), disorderly conduct (30%), motor vehicle theft, and burglary (both 29%).

Arrest Rates by Gender

Data on juvenile arrest rates for three types of violent crime and for drug abuse (see Figure 7.4) show that the majority of juveniles arrested were males, but arrest rates for females grew proportionately more than for males. According to Howard N. Snyder in Juvenile Arrests in 2002 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, September 2004), between 1980 and 2002, the female juvenile arrest rate for aggravated assault grew by 99%, while the male rate grew by 14%. The female rate for simple assault grew by 258% during the same period, while the male rate grew by 99%; and the female rate for weapons law violations grew by 125% versus the male growth rate of 7%. In 2002, 29% of juveniles arrested were female. Data for females are shown graphed both with males, indicating much lower female involvement, as well as separately to show the trend lines more clearly than is possible in combination with the much more numerous male arrests in each category.

Juvenile Offenders by Race

According to Juvenile Arrests in 2002, the majority of all juveniles arrested in 2002 were white, representing 55% of violent crime arrests and 70% of property crime arrests. Forty-three percent of violent crime arrests and 27% of arrests for property crimes involved African-Americans. Asians/Pacific Islanders comprised 1% of those arrested for violent crimes and 2% of those arrested for property crimes; Native Americans represented 1% of arrests in each category. Table 7.3 shows the African-American proportion of juveniles arrested for a variety of both violent and property offenses. Of all juveniles arrested for murder, for example, half were African-American. African-Americans comprised 36% of those juveniles arrested for forcible rape, 59% of those arrested for robbery, and 38% of those arrested for motor vehicle theft.

Figure 7.5 compares the juvenile arrest rates for African-Americans and whites from 1980 to 2002. The respective rates for violent crimes have narrowed over this period, according to Snyder in Juvenile Arrests in 2002. In 1980 the African-American juvenile Violent Crime Index arrest rate was 6.3 times the white rate; in 2002, the rate disparity had declined to 3.8. Arrest rates for murder showed a particularly sharp decline. The murder arrest rate for white juveniles dropped by two-thirds between 1993 and 2002; the rate for African-American juveniles dropped by 80%. The 2002 murder rates were lower than any year in the 1980s or 1990s for both white and African-American juveniles. Property crime also showed dramatic drops during this period. The 2002 Property Crime Index arrest rates for both white juveniles and African-American juveniles were only half of what they had been in 1980.

Disposition of Juveniles Arrested

A change in the disposition of juveniles arrested appeared in the 1970s. In 1972, 50.8% of those arrested were referred to juvenile courts; 45% were handled within police departments and released; only 1.3% were transferred by referral to criminal or adult courts, according to the Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2002 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, August 2004). By 2002, cases handled internally (followed by release) had dropped to 18.1%. The majority of cases were referred to juvenile court (72.8%). The cases

Most serious offenseBlack proportion of juvenile arrests in 2002
Forcible rape36
Aggravated assault37
Motor vehicle theft38
Drug abuse violations25
Curfew and loitering29

referred to adult jurisdictions had escalated to 7% of all cases. (See Table 7.4.)


In 2003, 9,875 juveniles were in jail or prison, according to Prison and Jail Inmates at Midyear 2003 (Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2004). Of these juveniles, 6,869 were in jail (5,484 held as adults) and 3,006 were in state prisons. (See Table 7.5 and Table 2.11 in Chapter 2.) Juvenile males (2,880) far outnumbered females (126) in state prisons. The number of incarcerated juveniles has dropped since 1995. In that year, 7,800 juveniles were in jail, of whom 5,900 were being held as adults. In 1995, 5,309 juveniles were held in state prisons.

The most recent survey of the characteristics of juveniles in adult confinement was conducted by the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs in 1998, published in Juveniles in Adult Prisons and Jails in 2000. For purposes of this survey, juveniles were defined as those seventeen and younger; the survey also collected matching data for the adult population. The federal prison system did not participate in the survey so the results are for state prisons and a number of local jail systems. Among juvenile offenders held in adult facilities, 3.3% were female, significantly lower than youths held in juvenile residential facilities (13%).

Table 7.6 shows the offenses for which youths and adults surveyed were incarcerated in state prison, the racial and ethnic composition of these two groups, and the manner in which they were housed. The major difference between the juvenile and the adult populations in 1998 was that only one in ten youths but one in five adults were serving time for drug offenses. Proportionally, therefore, more youths were held for offenses against persons and for property crimes than adults. A larger percentage of the juvenile population was African-American (55% versus 48% of adults), a smaller percentage was white (26% versus 35%), and a significantly higher percentage (4% versus 1% among adults) was Native American. A higher proportion of juveniles occupied single cells (30% versus 22% for adults) and slept in dormitories (51% versus 43% for the adult population).


The almost 10,000 juveniles in jail and prison in 2003 were but a fraction of all juveniles in confinement. They represented those youths transferred to the jurisdiction of adult courts, usually by waiver or under statutorily mandated rules. In 2002 Juvenile Residential Facility Census, 2000: Selected Findings was published by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Authored by Melissa Sickmund, this study reported that 110,284 offenders under the age of twenty-one were being held in public and private juvenile detention, correctional, and shelter facilities. This category excludes prisons and jails. In October 2000 there were 1,203 public and 1,848 private, residential facilities in the nation.

The vast majority of juveniles in residential placement were delinquents (96%), the rest were confined for status offenses, according to Sickmund in Juvenile Offenders in Residential Placement, 1997–1999 (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, March 2002). Status offenders are runaways, truants from school, youths who are beyond the control of their parents, curfew violators, and those who violate other noncriminal ordinances and rules. The largest number of youths in residential placement were held for burglary (11%), followed by two violent crime categories, aggravated assault (9%) and robbery (8%). Robbery involves the use or threat of force. Categories of offense with the greatest increase since 1997 were offenses against other persons (a 50% increase) and sexual assault (up 34%). Offenses against other persons, according to Sickmund, "include kidnapping, violent sex acts other than forcible rape (e.g., incest, sodomy), custody interference, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment, harassment, and attempts to commit any such acts." The greatest decreases were in status offenses (down 32%), in criminal homicide (down 21%), and robbery (down 13%). (See Table 7.7.)

The largest populations of juveniles in residential placement were in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, and New York, in that order, according to Juvenile Residential Facility Census, 2000. (See Table 7.8.) Those five states housed 40.9% of all juveniles in residential detention in the United States in October 2000. Seventy percent of all juveniles were held in public and 30% in private facilities.

The 2000 survey of residential facilities showed that crowding is also an issue in juvenile confinement: 2,875 of 3,061 facilities reported on the availability of "standard beds," a category that excludes informal sleeping arrangements such as sofas, mattresses on the floor, and cots. Thirty-nine percent of all reporting facilities had fewer standard beds than inmates, 37% of public and 40% of private facilities. The most crowded conditions in public facilities were reported in Delaware and Rhode Island, where all public facilities had fewer beds than inmates. In Mississippi all private facilities reported a shortfall in beds for juveniles housed.

Placement Status

Juveniles in residential placement are classified by the OJJDP into three categories. The largest group in 1999, 73.8% of the confined youths, were committed by

Referred to juvenile court jurisdictionHandled within department and releasedReferred to criminal or adult courtReferred to other police agencyReferred to welfare agency
Note: These data include all offenses except traffic and neglect cases.
*Because of rounding, percents may not add to 100.

juvenile courts. Most of the rest, 25.2%, were detained and represented a transitory population. Some of these juveniles may well have ended up in jails and prisons later. They were in residential placement awaiting their hearings, waiting for the disposition of their cases, or waiting to be transferred to some other kind of facility. The remaining 1% of residents were in juvenile confinement voluntarily as a consequence of so-called diversion agreements. Under such agreements a juvenile may opt to enter a juvenile facility voluntarily in lieu of judicial proceedings in juvenile court. The offender profiles of those committed and those detained were quite similar in most regards. A smaller percentage of detainees were being held for offenses against persons than those committed (29.1% versus 36.8%). Detainees were also proportionately less involved in property offenses (25.9% versus the committed population's 30.5%). A significantly higher proportion of detainees were being held for technical violations, which involve such matters as parole violations and failure to follow court orders. Those in juvenile homes voluntarily, the diversionary group, were proportionately less delinquent than either the committed or the detained population (71.1% versus 95.6% of those committed). This small group, however, had a disproportionately high number (28.9%) in the "status offense" category—youths who run away, fail to attend school, are incorrigible, etc.


Boot camps for juvenile offenders began around 1985, when such a program was established in Orleans Parish, Louisiana. By 1995, states operated thirty juvenile boot camps, while larger counties across the country operated another eighteen camps in local jails. Boot camps for juveniles are typically intended for "mid-range" offenders—those who have failed with lesser sanctions like probation but are not yet hardened criminals. Juvenile programs typically exclude some types of offenders, such as sex offenders, armed robbers, and youths with a record of serious violence. Definitions of terms like "nonviolent" vary from program to program. Boot camps initially had three main goals: reducing recidivism among juvenile offenders, reducing prison populations, and reducing costs.

Inmates under age 18
Note: Federal prisons held 39 inmates under age 18 in 1990, but none in 1995 and 1999 to 2003.
*Not available.
Alcohol related1353%20,4572%20,592
Drug related46710%210,97520%211,442
Public order1854%40,4684%40,653
Native American1764%9,4211%9,597
Housing type*
Single cell1,01930%120,22122%121,240
Double cell67019%193,75435%194,424
Note: Discrepancies in totals are due to rounding.
*Housing type statistics are reported for 21 states that house juveniles in adult correctional facilities.

Most juvenile boot camps share the 90–120-day duration typical of military boot camps. They employ military customs and have correctional officers acting as uniformed drill instructors who initially use intense verbal tactics designed to break down inmates' resistance.

Juvenile offenders in residential placementPercent change 1997–99
Most serious offenseNumberPercent
    Total juvenile offenders108,9311003
    Criminal homicide1,5141−21
    Sexual assault7,511734
    Aggravated assault9,98495
    Simple assault7,448712
    Other persona3,336350
    Auto theft6,2256−5
    Other property5,300513
    Drug trafficking3,10632
    Other drug6,77669
Public order10,487108
    Other public order6,464617
Technical violationb14,0461312
Violent Crime Indexb27,221253
Property Crime Indexb26,51724−3
Status offense4,6944−32
aOffenses against other persons include kidnapping, violent sex acts other than forcible rape (e.g., incest, sodomy), custody interference, unlawful restraint, false imprisonment, reckless endangerment, harassment, and attempts to commit any such acts.
bTechnical violations include violations of probation, parole, and valid court orders. Violent Crime Index offenses include criminal homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property Crime Index offenses include burglary, theft, auto theft, and arson.

Boot camps emphasize vigorous physical activity, drill and ceremony, and manual labor. The offenders are allowed little free time and strictly enforced rules govern all aspects of conduct and appearance. Because of state-mandated education rules, programs spend a minimum of three hours daily on academic education. Most programs also include some vocational education, work-skills training, or job preparation.

In a study of three boot camps in Cleveland, Ohio, Denver, Colorado, and Mobile, Alabama, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention found high rates of program completion among those randomly assigned to the camps. There were also improvements in the academic performance of boot camp participants, with over 80% of those attending the Mobile camp showing a rise of one grade level. Unfortunately, the recidivism rates between the experimental groups who attended boot camp and control groups who did not attend showed that the boot

Juvenile facilitiesOffenders younger than 21
StateAll facilitiesPublicPrivateAll facilitiesPublicPrivate
    U.S. total*3,0611,2031,848110,28477,66232,464
Dist. of Columbia17314272159113
New Hampshire82619312370
New Jersey5745122,2742,171103
New Mexico2719888583847
New York210591515,0812,8832,198
North Carolina6727401,5551,237318
North Dakota134920310598
Rhode Island11110360211149
South Carolina4216261,5921,072520
South Dakota22913646365265
Vermont5 1415826132
West Virginia27621381241140
Note: State is the state where the facility is located. Offenders sent to out-of-state facilities are counted in the state where the facility is located, not the state where their offense occurred.
*U.S. total includes 158 offenders in 10 tribal facilities. These offenders were located in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

camp experience had little effect. As for saving costs, a 1999 study of boot camps in four states (Final Report: Boot Camps' Impact on Confinement Bed Space Requirements, National Institute of Justice, Washington, DC, August 30, 1999) showed some savings in the number of prison beds required in three of the four states: "Washington and South Dakota saved a substantial number of prison beds, while Oregon's boot camp achieved a modest bed space savings."

Several factors seem to have a direct bearing on the success or failure rates for boot camp participants, including the length of the sessions and the amount of post-release supervision. In a study of many boot camps across the country (Correctional Boot Camps: Lessons from a Decade of Research, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, June 2003), it was reported that:

  • Participants reported positive short-term changes in attitudes and behaviors; they also had better problem-solving and coping skills.
  • With few exceptions, these positive changes did not lead to reduced recidivism. The boot camps that did produce lower recidivism rates offered more treatment services, had longer sessions, and included more intensive post-release supervision. However, not all programs with these features had successful results.
  • Under a narrow set of conditions, boot camps can lead to small relative reductions in prison populations and correctional costs.


On March 1, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the death penalty for juveniles. The ruling found that state laws authorizing capital punishment for those under eighteen years old who commit murder violate the Eighth Amendment's provision against cruel and unusual punishment and are therefore unconstitutional. Juveniles who commit serious crimes can now be sentenced to a maximum of life in prison. The ruling changes the law in twenty-one states that had authorized the death penalty for juvenile offenders and took seventy-two prisoners off of death row. An online version of the ruling is located at http://wid.ap.org/documents/scotus/050301roper.pdf.

Historically, it was rare for a juvenile to be sentenced to death. According to the BJS, in sixteen states allowing the death penalty in 2003, the minimum age authorized for capital punishment was eighteen years. (See Table 7.9.) Those states included California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington. The federal system observed eighteen years as well. However, five states—Florida, Georgia, New Hampshire, North

Age 16 or lessAge 17Age 18None specified
Alabama (16)FloridaCaliforniaArizona
Arkansas (14)GeorgiaColoradoIdaho
Delaware (16)New HampshireCnnecticutLouisiana
Kentucky (16)North CarolinaaFederal systemMontanab
Mississippi (16)cTexasIllinoisPennsylvania
Nevada (16)IndianaSouth Carolina
Oklahoma (16)KansasSouth Dakotad
Utah (14)eMaryland
Virginia (14)eMissourif
Wyoming (16)Nebraska
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Note: Reporting by states reflects interpretations by state attorney generals' offices and may differ from previously reported ages.
a Age required is 17 unless the murderer was incarcerated for murder when a subsequent murder occurred; then the age may be 14.
b Montana law specifies that offenders tried under the capital sexual assault statute be 18 or older. Age may be a mitigating factor for other capital crimes.
c The minimum age defined by statute is 13, but the effective age is 16 based on interpretation of U.S. Supreme Court decisions by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
d Juveniles may be transferred to adult court. Age can be a mitigating factor.
eThe minimum age for transfer to adult court by statute is 14, but the effective age is 16 based on interpretation of U.S. Supreme Court decisions by the state attorney general's office.
f The minimum age defined by statute is 16, but the effective age is 18 based on interpretation of the 8th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by the Missouri Supreme Court.

Carolina, and Texas—had authorized the death penalty at seventeen years. The minimum age for capital punishment was sixteen years or less in thirteen other states. Alabama, Delaware, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Wyoming set sixteen years as the minimum, while Arkansas, Utah, and Virginia used fourteen years. States without specific age limits were Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and South Dakota.

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Juvenile Confinement

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