Crossing the Line: Juvenile Transfer and Prison Violence

Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Sociology & Criminal Justice


Applied Sociology

Committee Director

Randy Gainey

Committee Member

Ruth Triplett

Committee Member

James A. Nolan

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.S62 H85 2002


The juvenile court has long held caring and rehabilitation as it's objective for those persons who commit crimes while under age 18. However, arguably, that goal has been compromised with the use of juvenile transfers. Some research has been done on the use of transfers, but little has studied the effects of incarcerating juveniles with adult prisoners at the state level. This thesis examines the use of the juvenile transfer and the effects it has with respect to prison violence using states in the U.S. as the unit of analysis. It was hypothesized that prison violence would increase with an increase in juveniles in those prisons based on prior research which showed that juveniles were more likely to be both the perpetrators and the victims of violence. The results of the analysis did not find support for this hypothesis, with the exception of prison riots. It was found that prison riots were correlated with juvenile incarceration in adult prisons and that the odds of a riot occurring was found to increase five fold with an increase in the number of juveniles in adult prisons. Policy implications and alternatives to the use of juvenile transfers are discussed.


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