Berryessa, C.M. Developmental and life course criminology in discretionary judicial waivers. J Dev Life Course Criminology (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40865-021-00158-8
The current research, using qualitative methodology and grounded theory analysis for model building, examines if and how juvenile court judges draw from developmental and life course criminology (DLC) in discretionary judicial waivers. This study develops three progressive models, emerging from interviews with juvenile court judges from two large Southern states (N = 30), that demonstrate how principles related to the three developmental stages of offending (activation, escalation, and desistance) from DLC theories shape judges’ considerations of each of the three Kent factors (dangerousness, treatment amenability, sophistication-maturity) used to weigh juvenile transfer via discretionary judicial waivers. This work suggests that judges think about juvenile transfer cautiously and as a strategy that should only affect individual juveniles identified by judges as “persisters” and that drawing from DLC principles appears to foster a generally rehabilitative jurisprudential philosophy for judges in the juvenile court system.