Kids and Competency
Psychologists often provide recommendations regarding criminal justice practices in an effort to implement more effective reforms. Although each state has provisions for a juvenile justice system due to the fundamental differences between children and adults, many of those states utilize the adult competency standards to determine if a child is able to stand trial for an offense. The National Juvenile Justice Network has produced policy guidelines to help states create separate statutes for determining the competency of a juvenile. After reading “Competency to Stand Trial in Juvenile Court: Recommendations for Policymakers,” as part of your weekly reading assignment, locate and analyze the statutes in a state of your choice (i.e. your state of birth or where you would like to live). State statutes can be found here. In your chosen state, did the legislature already create a separate standard for juveniles? Does the adult competency statute mention any differences for juveniles? How would you advise your local politician regarding this issue?