In August, a state appeals court panel ruled that New Jersey juveniles currently housed in youth detention facilities were entitled to hearings before being transferred to adult prisons, according to The Record.
The three-judge appeals panel overturned the transfer of a Cumberland County man – a juvenile at the time of committing his crimes – who was sent to South Woods State Prison in November 2011. Following the decision, a Juvenile Justice Commission Staff will now be required to hold hearings that will allow the detainee to challenge the legality of the transfer, The Record reported.
According to the state appellate court, teens in the state’s juvenile justice system require more than same-day notice of such decisions. Following last month’s ruling, detainees must also be given written notice of the transfer and additional written findings that support the decision to go forward with the transferal.
“The transfer of a juvenile to an adult prison significantly changes the focus of the incarceration away from rehabilitation and toward security and punishment,” Judge Alexander Waugh, Jr. wrote on behalf of the panel. “For those reasons, we conclude that there must be a sufficient level of procedural due process to protect the juvenile’s interests.”