Being Tried and Sentenced as an Adult: Amplifying Voices of Transferred Juveniles

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This article analyses the qualitative findings of doctoral research on a sample of 210 young offenders who were transferred to Adult Court in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The results give an insight into the impact of juvenile transfer on a specific subgroup of participants, now aged between 30 and 40 years, allowing a critical evaluation of their pathways into adulthood. Drawing on the life stories of 17 young adults from a cohort of transferred juveniles who were still in prison at the time, we focus on their lived experiences of the decision to transfer them from the juvenile justice system and its impact on their lives. The findings support the idea that transfer, and its experienced ‘collateral’ effects, contributes to an escalating trajectory of judicial contacts; a view echoed by the transferred participants themselves. We present and discuss three main findings that offer important insights to extend the understandings of patterns of reoffending and involvement in the criminal justice system: (1) the impact of the first detention in an adult prison (as a consequence of the juvenile transfer), (2) a fatalistic attitude towards the future and (3) the unanticipated impact of family on views on re-offending.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberOnline first
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages19
JournalYouth Justice
Issue number0
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article: The authors are grateful to the Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (Research Foundation Flanders) for funding their research (grant number G098713 N).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2023.

Copyright 2023 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • juvenile transfer


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