National Center for Youth Law

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Youth Prosecuted as Adults in California (2017 update)
Addressing Racial, Ethnic, and Geographic Disparities After the Repeal of Direct File

In 2016, Californians voted overwhelmingly in support of Proposition 57, a ballot initiative that abolished the practice of “direct file,” wherein prosecutors could file charges against youth as young as 14 years old directly in adult criminal court. Now, all youth under the age of 18 must first receive a judicial transfer hearing in juvenile court to determine whether they can be prosecuted as an adult. This new report reveals racial and ethnic disparities associated with direct file say the data are a reminder of the need to remain vigilant to prevent these disparities from being reproduced under the state’s new process for transferring youth to adult criminal court.

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