|Juveniles in Adult Court - Direct File|
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CCDB Policy Statement on the Direct File of Juveniles in Adult Court
CCDB recognizes that prosecuting children as adults is a failed policy that increases recidivism and decreases community safety. The organization specifically opposes prosecutorial direct file under all circumstances. This is an unconstitutional practice that denies children the ability to challenge a prosecutor’s decision to permanently exclude them from juvenile court and juvenile services.
Best practices support prosecuting all juveniles under the age of 18 in juvenile court, where there are educational services, mental health and other treatment programs and facilities staffed by people who are trained to assist and rehabilitate adolescents. However, if children are to be prosecuted as adults, the decision to transfer a case must be made after a hearing before a judge who decides whether juvenile or adult court is appropriate under the circumstances of each individual case.
CCDB further recognizes that no child should be held in an adult jail while their case is pending in court. If pre-trial detainment is warranted, the child should be held in a juvenile detention facility, unless a judge decides additional security is warranted after an individualized risk assessment and hearing.
Adolescence is a critical yet transitory stage in our lives, marked by immaturity and an underdeveloped sense of responsibility and risk, which warrants care and opportunities for a better future. Colorado’s laws should reflect the current science when creating laws and policies regarding adolescents.