Juvenile justice advocates want to reform system by reducing bind over cases

Cuyahoga County sends more children to adult court than any other county in Ohio.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 6:36 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 3:18 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Criminal justice advocates in Ohio are pushing for changes to a juvenile court process they say does more harm than good.

Through a process known as a “bindover,” children who commit serious crimes can have their cases transferred to adult court, where they will be tried as adults, sentenced as adults, and serve their time in adult prisons.

Cuyahoga County transfers significantly more children to adult court than any other county in the state, according to data from the Ohio Department of Youth Services.

In the last decade, at least 673 juvenile offenders in Cuyahoga County had their cases bound over to adult court - a total that is 200-243% higher than the number of juvenile cases Franklin and Hamilton counties transferred to adult court during the same period.

Research shows most juvenile offenders grow out delinquent behaviors as they become adults. But once a child is prosecuted as an adult, they are 34% more likely to reoffended after being released, compared to kids whose cases stay in the juvenile system.

Juvenile offenders also more likely to be sexually and physically assaulted in adult prisons, and are twice as likely to commit or attempt suicide.

In the video player above, you will hear what solutions are being proposed to help lower the number of bindover cases in Cuyahoga County, along with why juvenile justice advocates say rehabilitation is key to lowering recidivism.