Edward P. Mulvey and Carol A. Schubert
The juvenile court was established to separate adolescent offenders from the potentially harmful effects of involvement in the adult criminal justice system. Due to glitches in this plan, there have been mechanisms for transferring particular adolescents to the adult criminal justice system and punishing them accordingly. The debate about the appropriate time and policy to incarcerate these adolescents in adult facilities still goes on. This article, under the person-environment “fit”, explores how the fundamental orientation and the operational realities of the adult versus juvenile system appear to affect young offenders in terms of both their prison experience and their life afterwards. Furthermore, it identifies unique issues of particular needs of adult prisons and jails when dealing with adolescents, highlighting the fact that addressing the issue of what to do with serious adolescent offenders requires more than simple political posturing. Finally, it considers the reentry issues associated with young prison releases.