which increased from 1.2 percent in 1986 to 4.1 percent in 1991. By 1996, the percentage of drug offenses waived dropped back down to 1.2 percent. It seems unlikely that changes such as those seen in waived drug cases were due to changes in legislation. The peak occurred during the height of the war on drugs and the rise in youth violence, which was often associated with drug dealing. Waiver decisions may have been influenced by the general antidrug tenor of the period. Alternatively, the drug cases seen in juvenile court during the early 1990s may have been much more serious offenses than in the years before and after. Research, including data collection, to explain such trends remains to be done.
National data on the number of cases transferred through direct file or statutory exclusion are not available. A study by the U.S. General Accounting Office (1995a), based on data from five states, the District of Columbia, and counties in five additional states, found that the percentage of cases sent to criminal court by prosecutorial direct file ranged from less than 1 percent (in Utah) to 10 percent in Florida and 13 percent in Arkansas. At least in some states, the change to prosecutorial direct file appears to have resulted in more juveniles being processed in adult criminal court.
Recent changes in statutory exclusion laws have generally increased the population of juveniles potentially subject to transfer to the criminal courts, but no national data are currently available to determine the actual number of juveniles affected by exclusion laws, the characteristics of such juveniles, or the offenses for which they are transferred. A 1985 study of 12 jurisdictions (Gragg, 1986) reported that juveniles transferred by legislative exclusion tended to be younger and to have fewer prior arrests and placements than juveniles transferred by other means.
Research has examined the impact of various aspects of transferring juveniles to criminal courts, including studies on the types of cases most likely to be transferred, comparisons of sentences in juvenile and criminal courts, and comparisons of recidivism between transferred and non-transferred juveniles.
In an analysis of judicial transfer decisions in Boston, Detroit, Newark, and Phoenix from 1981 to 1984, Fagan et al. (1987a) found that age at the time the offense was committed, age of delinquency onset, and seriousness of offense were the factors that most influenced juvenile judges' decisions to transfer a case to criminal court. The cases most likely to be waived involved older juveniles charged with serious, violent offenses, predominantly homicide. Poulos and Orchowsky (1994) examined the factors influencing judicial transfer between 1988 and 1990 in the state of