The largest proportion of juvenile cases waived to criminal court is for serious crimes such as murder, aggravated assault, property crimes, public order offenses, and drug offenses (Brown, 1998, 53). Most states allow juveniles to be waived if they are currently charged with a felony and have been charged previously with a felony, and most states allow juveniles to be waived to criminal court if it is believed that the offender is not amenable to treatment.
Waiving juveniles to criminal court is an attempt to deter future criminal behavior, but studies have not vindicated this approach (Brown, 1998, 52). Juveniles sentenced in criminal court show no less recidivism than those sentenced in juvenile court, and criminal courts often sentence juveniles to probation. In the past, waiving a juvenile to criminal court was an option of last resort, but today it is a more common practice (McMillan, 1999; Brown, 1998, 53). The exclusionary statutes donĘt allow for the use of discretion by juvenile court judges and prosecutors, who know juvenile offenders best.
In 2000, the Coalition for Juvenile Justice reported to Congress that between 50 percent and 75 percent of incarcerated youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder, and at least half of them have a recurring substance abuse problem because communities lack integrated plans bringing social services, law enforcement, and hea