On December 14, , Philip Chism, of Danvers, Massachusetts, was convicted of raping and murdering his high-school math teacher, Colleen Ritzer. Chism, now 16, was 14 when he committed the crime, but was tried as an adult due to a Massachusetts state law requiring juveniles 14 and older accused of murder to be tried as adults. Massachusetts has policies in place that prevent juveniles from being sentenced to adult prisons, policies meant to protect youth from the increased risk of sexual abuse, injury, and death they face when imprisoned alongside adults. Juveniles constitute 1, of the 1. On any given day, 10, juveniles are housed in adult prisons and jails.
By Lauren Baldwin , Contributing Author. In most states, when children are accused of criminal acts, the case most often is addressed in a juvenile court and not in the regular adult criminal court system. All states, however, have provisions that allow or require the courts to treat juveniles in certain cases as adults. In those cases, the juvenile is tried in adult criminal court and, if convicted, punished as an adult. The cases in which children are tried as adults usually involve very serious charges or a child who already has a significant history of criminal activity.
The court can order that:. The center will find out what education and treatment your child needs. Then your child will go a correctional facility or youth camp.
On any given day, nearly 53, youth are held in facilities away from home as a result of juvenile or criminal justice involvement. Nearly one in ten is held in an adult jail or prison. This report provides an introductory snapshot of what happens when justice-involved youth are held by the state: where they are held, under what conditions, and for what offenses. It offers a starting point for people new to the issue to consider the ways that the problems of the criminal justice system are mirrored in the juvenile system: racial disparities, punitive conditions, pretrial detention, and overcriminalization. While acknowledging the philosophical, cultural, and procedural differences between the adult and juvenile justice systems, 3 the report highlights these issues as areas ripe for reform for youth as well as adults.