The Impact of Juvenile Transfer Laws on Juvenile Crime
34 Pages Posted: 16 May 2010 Last revised: 29 May 2012
Date Written: March 6, 2011
We analyze the effects of tougher and weaker state laws governing the transfer of juveniles to the adult criminal justice system (including the statutory exclusion, once adult/always adult, direct file, presumptive waiver, discretionary waiver, and mandatory waiver laws, which make juvenile transfers to the adult system easier, and the reverse waiver law, which makes transfers to the adult system harder) on juvenile crime in different crime categories (including the general categories of total, property, and violent crime and the specific categories of murder, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, auto theft, and arson). We find that each of the tougher juvenile transfer laws is positively correlated with juvenile crime in at least one category, while the weaker juvenile transfer law (the reverse waiver) is negatively correlated with juvenile crime in several categories. Moreover, instrumental variable regressions indicate that increases in the combined severity of all the juvenile transfer laws cause increases in juvenile burglary.
Keywords: Transfer Laws, Juvenile Crime, Adult Court, Criminal Human Capital, Deterrence
JEL Classification: K42, I18, H1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation