top of page

End Mandatory Bindover in Ohio

Bindover is the process by which a juvenile court judge transfers a youth’s case to an adult court to be tried and sentenced as an adult. Here in Ohio, the practice of mandatory bindover still occurs today — where the court must transfer a child to adult court if certain criteria are met. For kids as young as 14, this means if they are charged with certain crimes, they are automatically bound over and tried as an adult in adult court (and in the adult detention system). The judge has no discretion, beginning the dehumanization of our youth as soon as they meet checkboxes for an automatic transfer into the adult justice system.


Ohio – we can do better.


Eliminating mandatory bindover will move Ohio to a discretionary bindover system, where kids charged with certain crimes must be properly evaluated by a juvenile court judge before a decision is made to bind them over into adult court. This evaluation looks at the youth as a whole — factoring in social history, education, past trauma, family history, and mental health. 


Discretionary bindover allows our youth to be seen — for who they are, for who they’ve been, and for who they have the potential to grow to be. 


Why end mandatory bindover?


Juvenile court is different. Juvenile adjudication is rehabilitative — adult felony sentencing is punitive. 


Youth in the juvenile justice system are held accountable for their actions while receiving supportive rehabilitation services. 


Ohio has one of the highest racial disparities in mandatory bindover in the US. 

  • In 2020, over 80% of Ohio youth bound over to adult court were Black. 

  • In Cuyahoga County, over 90% of kids boundover are Black.


Bindover can have devastating and life-long consequences for Ohio youth. 

  • Youth incarcerated in adult facilities are:

    • 5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted

    • 8 times more likely to commit suicide

    • 2 times more likely to be beaten by staff or attacked with a weapon by another incarcerated person

  • Youth are often kept in solitary confinement for long periods

  • Youth experience trauma in the adult system

  • Youth in the adult system have nearly double the rate of mental illness (66%) compared to adults in the same system (35%)


Youth in the adult system lack academic, vocational, and skill-building opportunities their counterparts receive in the juvenile justice system.


Bindover actually increases future reoffending and recidivism — the opposite of rehabilitation and contrary to community wellness.


Sign the petition – believe in the future of all Ohio youth and end mandatory bindover today.

bottom of page