Literature Review Predicting sentencing outcomes and time served for juveniles transferred to criminal court in a rural northwestern state

Literature Review: Predicting sentencing outcomes and time served for juveniles transferred to criminal court in a rural northwestern Steiner, citing a comparatively recent shift in the focus of the juvenile justice system from a preoccupation with the best interests of children to a preoccupation with the best interests of society, examined the factors which might aid in predicting both the sentencing outcomes and the time served in juvenile waiver cases in a rural northwestern area. (2005). This research was designed in order to further examine the significance of this shift to the best interests of society and to further examine the recent data demonstrating less leniency accorded to juveniles in adult criminal courts. The most recent empirical data, as noted by Steiner, suggests that juvenile waiver cases no longer tend to result in shorter sentences or reductions in time served. indeed, this recent research suggests that how a juvenile is disposed of in the adult criminal court depends quite heavily on the nature of the underlying crime. Against this background, Steiner engaged in an analysis of those factors which most significantly predicted both sentencing outcomes and time served in juvenile waiver cases. Location ended up being a critical factor.
Most of this prior research, however, was more qualitative than quantitative and there is a very real need to try and replicate these alleged shifts and consequences more precisely. to this end, Steiner admits quite matter-of-factly that "the extant waiver research had been primarily descriptive with few exceptions (citing, Barnes &amp. Franz, 1989, Kurlychek &amp. Johnson, 2004 and Myers, 2003b). Accordingly, there was a need for replication of multivariate studies to determine which characteristics of juveniles who were waived to adult criminal court were robust predictors of sentencing outcomes and length of time served" (2005). In addition, much of this prior descriptive research focuses rather disproportionately on urban areas and congested urban criminal justice systems. Steiner’s research, therefore, seeks to replicate the more generalized descriptive findings quantitatively and to determine whether these findings apply equally in a rural setting.
Of 102 juveniles in this rural area, ninety-eight percent we waived to adult criminal court. The research findings were illuminating. First, in contrast to recent descriptive studies in urban areas, Steiner’s research found that "prison was rarely used as a punishment for juveniles waived to criminal court" (2005). This finding was buttressed by the fact that this particular rural court system had three options available: prison, probation, and a sort of community service program. The majority of the juvenile waiver cases were referred instead to community service. Second, the research further diverged from the urban studies in terms of time served. more particularly, as noted by Steiner, "revealed that juveniles waived to criminal court did not typically serve long periods of time in adult facilities. The median amount of time served was 188 days. Prior research suggested that for some offenses, waived juveniles served less time than they would have had they remained in the juvenile system (citing, Bishop et al., 1996, Clement, 1997, Fagan, 1995, Fritsch et al., 1996, Myers, 2003b and Podkopacz &amp. Feld, 1996) (2005).
In the final analysis, Steiner’s research is worthy of attention. In both cases, in a rural context, the recent descriptive research studies in the field could not be replicated. More significant, there was evidence to suggest that juveniles waived to adult criminal courts actually were treated with more lenience. There would, in sum, appear to be very real differences in the consequences of juvenile waivers depending on whether the setting is an urban area or in a rural area.

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