Transferring Juveniles into Adult Court



Florida currently leads the nation in the number of youth transferred to adult court. Since 2009, 98 percent of the more than 12,000 children who have been tried as adults in Florida were “direct filed” with no hearing, due process, oversight or input from a judge.

Most children tried as adults in Florida are charged with non-violent felony offenses, primarily property and drug crimes, or misdemeanors. More than 70 percent of children convicted in adult court are sentenced to probation, calling into question whether a more serious, adult court transfer was necessary in the first place.

Transferring youth to adult court has not been proven to deter crime, and in fact, makes the young offender more likely to re-offend. Youth sent to the adult criminal justice system were 34 percent more likely to be rearrested for felonies than youth who had been retained in the juvenile justice system. The cost of doing nothing far exceeds amending Florida’s direct file statutes.


Read the full policy brief as a PDF here
Juvenile Justice Policy Brief

Read the full policy brief as a PDF here

Additional Resources:

Disclaimer: These links to third-party websites are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or approval by The Children’s Campaign or its affiliate organizations and partners.


Special thanks to the James Madison Institute, the Florida State University Project on Accountable Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center for authoring the policy brief featured in this Candidate Connection.

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