No Place for a Child: Children in the Adult Criminal Justice System
Florida prosecutes more children as adults than any other state. Prosecuting children as adults has failed as an effective public policy; instead of reducing crime, prosecuting a child as an adult produces crime by making youth more likely to commit crimes in the future. To encourage the recent decline in the number of juveniles prosecuted in the adult system, Florida can stop the pretrial confinement of youth in adult jails and allow all youth awaiting trial to remain in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice. We can also review the offenses that would make a youth eligible for transfer to adult court. Additionally, we can prohibit mandatory minimums from applying to youth who have been charged as adults. Public safety is not enhanced, but is only compromised, when we put a child in a system that increases his or her likelihood of reoffending.