No More Mr. Nice Guy for Juvenile Offenders

Article excerpt

Prosecutors throughout America share the concerns expressed by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch and Judge Jeffrey Rosinek in their Nov. 23 commentaries regarding juvenile crime.("Tougher treatment for juvenile offenders?").

Clearly, a coordinated and balanced approach is necessary - one that emphasizes the enforcement, prosecution and detention of violent and repeat offenders to protect the public safety and ensure accountability, while at the same time adequately funding prevention and early intervention efforts.

Prosecutors do not believe that every juvenile offender should be prosecuted an an adult. However, prosecutors should be vested with the discretion to prosecute - as adults - serious, violent and habitual offenders over age 14. Protection of the public safety demands no less.

It is time to abandon the archaic terminology used in our juvenile justice system and use terms consistent with the adult criminal process. The time also has come to open juvenile proceedings to the public and to eliminate barriers to the exchange of information concerning juvenile offenders. Opening juvenile court proceedings to the public, using consistent terminology and sharing relevant information concerning juvenile offenders will ensure greater accountability for both the juvenile offender and the process as a whole. …