Blended Sentencing

Nick Thelen
Transfer, Waiver, and Blended Sentencing in the Juvenile Justice System
Late in the 19th century, public opinion started to change about how to handle children who committed crimes and began to recognize childhood as a distinctive phase of human development. Many argued that juveniles were developmentally different than adults and more responsive to rehabilitation efforts, and therefore should not be held criminally responsible for their actions (Hansen, 2001). In 1899, Illinois established the first juvenile court in response to the growing concern of how to deal with those children that commit crime. The court was created with the belief that juveniles should receive different treatment than adult who commit crimes. The main principles of the Illinois court were to provide juveniles with individualized treatment in pursuance of the parens patriae philosophy, with the state assuming the parental role in looking out for the best interest of the child (Kooy, 2001).
Prior to the creation of the separate juvenile courtsystem, juveniles were forced to deal with the grim realities and severe penalties as adults in the criminal justice system. When Illinois created the juvenile system, their original objectives for the court were to get the children out of the harsh adult prison settings, to focus more attention on rehabilitating juveniles rather than punishing them, to provide greater ease and confidentiality in the courts proceedings, and to further remove the new juvenile process from the conventional adversarial criminal justice process.
Kent v. United States
A landmark case for the juvenile justice process was Kent v. United States, because the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that juveniles had a right to a hearing before being transferred to adult criminal court, representation of counsel, access to social service records, and a written statement of the reasons for waiver (Mole and White, pg. 2, 2005)....