Table of Contents
KANSAS-Projecting the Number of Juveniles in Adult Prisons
KANSAS-Projecting the Number of Juveniles in Adult Prisons
From "The Impact of the Extended Jurisdiction JuvenileProsecution
on the Adult Correctional Systems in Kansas," Kansas Statistical Analysis Center and
Kansas Sentencing Commission.
During the 1996 legislative session, the Kansas legislature enacted the Kansas Juvenile Justice Reform Act. The law created a new juvenile offender category known as "extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution" for juveniles convicted of violent crimes. The law was amended during the 1997 legislative session and became effective on January 1, 1998. Under the new law, if an extended jurisdiction juvenile prosecution results in a guilty plea or finding of guilt, the court shall: (1) impose one or more juvenile sentences and (2) impose an adult criminal sentence, the execution of which shall be stayed on the condition that the juvenile offender does not violate the provisions of the juvenile sentence and does not commit a new offense.
The law also provides that prosecutors can prosecute any juvenile as an extended jurisdiction juvenile (EJJ) if the juvenile is between 14 and 17 years of age at the time of the offense(s) alleged in the complaint and the juvenile has committed a violent or serious person felony offense, or an offense while in possession of a firearm, or the juvenile has one or more prior felony adjudications. If a juvenile is prosecuted as an EJJ, the juvenile will simultaneously receive both a juvenile and an adult sentence. The juvenile serves the juvenile sentence, but, if s/he violates the condition of juvenile sentence, the juvenile is taken immediately into the custody of the Department of Corrections to serve the adult sentence. The juvenile offenders are credited for time served in a juvenile correctional and/or detention facility on the juvenile sentence as service on any imposed adult sanction or sentence.
Since the enactment and implementation of the law, only five juveniles have been prosecuted as EJJ offenders. Of those, three were sentenced to community corrections, one to a state juvenile correctional facility, and one to a boot camp as a condition of the juvenile sentence. One of the EJJ offenders originally sentenced to community corrections later had the juvenile sentence revoked and was transferred to the Department of Corrections to serve his adult prison sentence.
At this stage of the laws implementation, policymakers in Kansas concerned about the potential impact of the transfer of juveniles into the adult system needed baseline data with which to compare future data on transfers. Also, they needed good information on the possible effect those juveniles would have on available prison bed space in adult facilities in order to do appropriate planning in advance.
Purposes of Data
The data gathered for this study provided a detailed overview of juveniles assigned to state juvenile correctional facilities in FY 1998. This comprehensive data set would provide the baseline needed for future comparisons and, to facilitate budgeting and planning in the future, would allow projections of the number of juveniles likely to be transferred to adult facilities
The data used for this study were obtained from FY 1998 admissions to Kansas juvenile correctional facilities with the cooperation of those facilities. To obtain the baseline number of juveniles who would have qualified for the juvenile/adult sentences had the new law been in effect, the staff of the Kansas Statistical Analysis Center and the Kansas Sentencing Commission applied the criteria defined in the Juvenile Justice Reform Act to the total admissions. The researchers also examined the 60 cases of juveniles sentenced to the adult system under existing law in FY 1998 to determine existing sentencing patterns for such offenders and to add to calculations of possible impact on correctional resources.
Data Analysis Based on Purposes of Data
As stated, the purpose of this data collection effort was not just to derive the baseline data but also to analyze future impacts on prison capacities and correctional budget and planning by Kansas policymakers. From the data collected, the researchers developed the following portrait of all juvenile offenders and those qualifying under the new reform law.
In FY 1998, 1,190 youths were admitted to Kansas juvenile facilities. These juveniles ranged in age from 11 to 20 years, with a mean age of 15.9 years; the ages of the youths at the time of the complaints filed against them ranged from10 to 18 years, with a mean age of 14.8 years. Seventeen-year-olds were most prevalent, comprising 29.4% of the total population. Of these juveniles, 87.4% were male; 46% were white, 31% African-American, 11% Hispanic, 8% biracial, and the rest "other." Almost one-half of the youths were living in single-parent families prior to admission, with 40.9% living with natural mothers and 8.6% living with natural fathers. Just over a third, 35.3%, reported living in "two-parent" households, with 18.6% living with both natural parents and 16.7% living with one natural parent and one stepparent.
Approximately 67% of the most serious offenses committed by the youths were felonies. Of those felonies, 46% were person felonies. Theft (18.7%), burglary (18.0%), and battery (9.2%) were the most frequent offenses committed by the juveniles. Offenses committed while in possession of firearms represented only 0.5% of total admissions, and juveniles with one or more prior felony adjudications represented 19% of total admissions.
Of the 1,190 youths admitted during FY1998, 249 would have been eligible to be prosecuted as extended jurisdiction juveniles. The mean age at admission for these 249 juveniles was 16.3 years, and the mean age at the time of the complaint was 15.4 years. Seventeen-year-olds were most prevalent, comprising 38.2% of the sample population. 96% were male; 42% were white, 38% African-American, 10% Hispanic, 6% biracial, and the rest "other." Data were not reported on the household background of these sampled juveniles
Eighty-four percent of the EJJ-eligible juveniles had been convicted of violent person felonies, and 2.4% had been in possession of firearms at the time of their offense(s). When the juveniles offense(s) were categorized according to the state sentencing guideline criteria, most offenses fell in the mid-levels of the offense schedules. Nearly 13% of the EJJ-eligible offenders had one or more prior felony adjudications.
Of the 60 juveniles sentenced to adult facilities in FY 1998, 30 were new court commitments, 28 conditional probation violators, and 2 were probation violators with new crimes. Their ages ranged from 15 to 17 years, with 17-year-olds accounting for 80%, 16-year-olds for 16.7%, and 15-year-olds for 3.3% of the total.
Analysis of the FY1998 data indicated that prior to the new reform law, juveniles 16 years of age and older with significant criminal histories were likely to be sentenced as adults and to serve their sentences in an adult prison. Judges were more likely to sentence younger juveniles and juveniles with little or no criminal history to juvenile correctional facilities. This implied that once the new law was fully implemented, the number of juveniles eligible for EJJ prosecution would be greater than the pre-law number eligible for the old "dual adjudication" system. This also implied that as the number of future EJJ prosecutions increased, the probability of violations resulting in adult imprisonment would increase as well.
The Kansas researchers then used the data collected, along with current juvenile sentencing trends, to derive long-term prison population projections under the new law. Specifically, the researchers looked at scenarios in which all EJJ-eligible juveniles went to adult prison, 50% went to adult prison, and 25% went to adult prison. The results of the scenarios when calculated are shown in Table 1.
Under Scenario I, in which all juveniles eligible for EJJ prosecution are prosecuted, the number of actual EJJ offenders would increase from 225 in FY 2000 to 837 in FY 2009. The increase in new prisoners in the adult system would go from 32 in FY 2000 to 166 in FY 2009. The number of juveniles sentenced to "nonprison," that is, community corrections and court services, would increase from 13 to 43 in the same period. Those eligible but not receiving adult sentences would rise from 210 in FY 2000 to 628 in FY 2009.
Under Scenario II, in which 50% of juveniles eligible for EJJ prosecution are prosecuted, the number of actual EJJ offenders would increase from 129 in FY 2000 to 429 in FY 2009. The increase in new prisoners in the adult system would go from 23 in FY 2000 to 113 in FY 2009. The number of juveniles sentenced to "nonprison," would increase from 6 to 29 in the same period. Those eligible but not receiving adult sentences would rise from 129 in FY 2000 to 429 in FY 2009.
Table 1. Scenarios of EJJ-Eligible Juveniles Under Juvenile Justice Reform Act
Scenario I-100% of EJJ-eligible
Scenario II-50% of EJJ-eligible
Scenario III-25% of EJJ-eligible
* A adult nonprison sentences include supervision under community corrections and count services.
Under Scenario III, in which 25% of juveniles eligible for EJJ prosecution are prosecuted, the number of actual EJJ offenders would increase from 68 in FY 2000 to 239 in FY 2009. The increase in new prisoners in the adult system would go from 9 in FY 2000 to 70 in FY 2009. The number of juveniles sentenced to "nonprison," would increase from 5 to 25 in the same period. Those eligible but not receiving adult sentences would rise from 54 in FY 2000 to 144 in FY 2009.
An increase in the need for additional correctional resources often occurs when a new law is enacted. Since the implementation of the extended juvenile jurisdiction prosecution was based on both the willingness and comfort levels of prosecutors to use this new form of prosecution, the Kansas researchers did not expect the impact to be immediate. However, once the new policy was fully implemented and used on a regular basis, the potential for significant impact on the state correctional system was great. Using the scenarios generated in this study, the report provided policymakers with a range of possible outcomes over the coming decade, to which planning and budgeting efforts could be directed.
Real and Potential Applications of Data
The data and scenarios developed by the Kansas researchers demonstrated potential changes in the mix of juvenile and adult offenders who will inhabit Kansas adult prisons over the next decade. Given the various scenarios and their underlying assumptions, policymakers can deliberate more effectively on the best and most likely use of correctional resources. They can also begin to consider if the projected increases in juvenile offenders in adult facilities warrant consideration of special facilities, programs, or treatments specifically oriented toward a younger inmate population.