Each year, over 200,000 children and youth are tried as adults across the country. In the state of New Jersey, youth as young as 14 can be tried, sentenced and incarcerated in the adult prison system, and those age 16 or older are subject to mandatory (automatic) waivers if they commit certain crimes.
It is the position of the New Jersey Parents’ Caucus, Inc. (NJPC) and its membership that the state’s current policies which promote the trying, sentencing and incarceration of children and youth between the ages of 14 and 17 in adult system are unjust and require further review. No youth should face an increased likelihood of adult waiver for a similar crime in a similar circumstance because of race, ethnicity, geography or socio-economic status. As well, for those children who are waived to the adult system, safety, rehabilitative services, treatment, and appropriate educational services and support, must be provided, particularly for those children with a history of mental health needs and/or special education involvement.