2. Reformation of Transfer, Waiver, and Direct File Laws . Recently, seven states— Arizona, Indiana, Nevada, Missouri, Ohio, Vermont, and Wisconsin—limited their transfer and waiver criteria, creating more options for juvenile courts to handle youth, leaving the adult system for only the most serious offenders, some of whom might serve blended sentences . Blended Sentences : A juvenile court disposition that imposes both a juvenile sanction and an adult criminal sentence upon an adjudicated delinquent. The adult sentence is suspended if the juvenile offender successfully completes the term of the juvenile disposition and refrains from committing any new offense. 3. Upping the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction . In 2007, Connecticut returned 16- and 17-year-olds to the juvenile court’s jurisdiction, and in 2013 and 2014, Illinois,
Massachusetts, and New Hampshire raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 17 for all offenses. In 2017 New York raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18. 4. The Development of Evidence-Based Prevention, Intervention, and Detention Reform . At least 18 states currently have statutes that support a commitment to evidence- based programs. In addition, Vermont and Washington recently enacted laws to evaluate and improve research and evidence-based programs in their states. The 2014 Nebraska reform law created new evidence-based diversion programs, and Connecticut recently funded a new state family violence-mediation diversion program. 5. Due Process Reforms . Another emerging trend in juvenile justice policy has been to increase due process protections for juvenile offenders. Much of the change has come in assessment of juvenile competency. Competency is an individual’s cognitive ability to comprehend and participate in legal proceedings. A juvenile’s lack of competency raises questions about the administration of justice in both juvenile and criminal courts. As a result, in just the past five years, 12 states enacted new laws to expand definitions of “competence” for juveniles that take into account social and cognitive development. New laws in Nevada, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, plus the District of Columbia, bringing the total to 23 states and DC, have enacted juvenile competency statutes in the past decade. 6. The Recognition of the Mental Health Needs of Justice Involved Youth . A number of states are now encouraging collaboration with the mental health community and child- serving organizations and have increased resources to help divert young offenders with mental health needs from the system. 7. Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities . Eighteen states have enacted laws that specifically incorporate community policing ideals into law enforcement standards; require training for officers on community policing; or provide funding for programs that foster community policing efforts. Other actions have addressed “racial profiling,” and 31 states currently have laws that define and prohibit racial profiling.