Reducing Transfer to the Adult System

This memo describes reforms and provides model legislation aimed at reducing the number of children transferred to adult court by increasing judicial oversight over the transfer decision and reducing the pathways to adult court.

People v. Contreras

The California Supreme Court clarified that a sentence need not exceed life expectancy to deprive a juvenile nonhomicide offender of the requisite meaningful opportunity for release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation, remanding a 50-year and a 58-year sentence for resentencing.

State ex rel. Carr v. Wallace

The Missouri Supreme Court has granted relief as to a life-without-parole-for-50-years sentence, explaining that the sentence was “the harshest penalty other than death available under a mandatory sentencing scheme,” and that the jury had no opportunity to consider youth.

Davis v. State

The Wyoming Supreme Court has held that there is a presumption against life without parole for juvenile offenders, and that such a sentence may be imposed only if the state proves beyond a reasonable doubt that a juvenile offender is irreparably corrupt.


Or. S.B. 1008, 80th Leg. Assemb. (Reg. Sess. 2019) (enacting new sections). Oregon passed a statute in 2019 eliminating life without parole for juveniles.  The statute provides eligibility for parole after 15 years for offenses committed under age 18.  The parole...


In 2018, Washington eliminated life without parole for juveniles through a court decision, Washington v. Bassett. In 2014, Washington had passed legislation that retroactively eliminated life without parole for crimes committed by juveniles ages 15 and younger but...