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Blended Sentencing in American Juvenile Courts
The Changing Borders of Juvenile Justice (2000)
  • Richard E. Redding
"Blended sentencing" allows juvenile courts to impose adult sentences or extend their sentencing jurisdiction into early adulthood. Blended sentencing laws typically cover the same class of serious or violent juvenile offenders as do their various transfer provisions; blended sentencing may remove transfer-eligible juveniles from the negative consequences of transfer to the "permanently disfiguring" criminal justice system. Blended sentencing also carries a number of possible disadvantages and challenges to the juvenile justice system, including the potential for widening the net of juvenile offenders at risk of receiving adult sanctions. After reviewing blended sentencing in the juvenile court and in the criminal court, this chapter considers blended sentencing in both courts in Colorado and Michigan. This is followed by a discussion of legal standards and procedures for blended sentencing in juvenile court and a legal analysis of blended sentencing laws. Other issues examined are the constitutionality of blended sentencing, the effects of blended sentencing laws, the effects of blended sentencing on the juvenile justice system, and preferred blended sentencing schemes. The authors recommend having blended sentencing in juvenile court rather than the criminal court. They argue that the best blended sentencing schemes maintain jurisdiction in the juvenile court, with the adult or extended juvenile sentence conditionally suspended provided the juvenile is successfully rehabilitated and does not commit a new offense. Further, under blended sentencing, the juvenile court judge should be vested with the decision-making authority about whether to transfer a juvenile to the criminal justice system. Finally, if blended sentencing systems are to serve as an alternative to transfer, then they should be structured to have maximum impact on habitual offenders, who are responsible for as much as 75 percent of the violent crimes committed by adolescents.
  • juveniles,
  • juvenile courts,
  • sentencing,
  • juvenile sentencing,
  • American juvenile courts,
  • courts
Publication Date
J. Fagan & F. ZImring
Citation Information
Richard E. Redding. "Blended Sentencing in American Juvenile Courts" The Changing Borders of Juvenile Justice (2000)
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