In "Forgotten Youth: Inside America's Prisons," Fault Lines examines what happens to young inmates when they are placed in adult prisons and investigates their claims of physical and sexual abuse. The film airs on Monday, July 20, at 10 pm Eastern time/7 pm Pacific on Al Jazeera America. | Click here to find Al Jazeera in your area.
Beginning in the late-1980s, U.S. states passed laws to crack down on youth crime, leading more minors to be prosecuted as adults in courts throughout the country.
In recent years, a movement to reverse that trend has taken hold. As part of that effort, states like Massachusetts and Illinois recently stopped automatically trying 17 year olds as adults.
Still, minors can be charged as adults through various means—including the discretion of the prosecutor, or by a juvenille court waiving its jurisdiction over a case. These youth offenders are then funneled into the adult prison system, where everyone from psychiatrists to corrections officers says there are few programs to help them suceed later in life.
Interactive Map: Minimum Age for Adult Prosecution