House passes McNamara’s proposal helping juvenile offenders

Posted by: Jessica Baker  | Tuesday, February 14, 2017 4:20 pm

STATEHOUSE (Feb. 14, 2017) – The Indiana House of Representatives passed State. Rep. Wendy McNamara’s (R-Evansville) proposal that would help address ways to improve the lives of juveniles in the criminal justice system.

“This proposal is part of a continued process to put juvenile justice issues at the forefront and ensure that their problems are addressed early, so they can have a better chance at improving their lives,” McNamara said. “House Bill 1218 builds upon the progress made through several bills from past sessions as we attempt to improve our responses to the needs of at-risk and incarcerated youth in Indiana.”

The measure would add four people to the community corrections board, including a juvenile probation officer and one representative from the Department of Corrections, mental health sector or juvenile correctional facility, and Juvenile Detentions Alternative Initiative or CASA/guardian ad litem organization in the community.

McNamara said these experts, would be able to make recommendations to the DOC on how to better handle with juveniles in the criminal justice system on the local level. The recommendations made can also allow the local levels to apply and receive grants from the DOC for juvenile justice issues.

The proposal would also provide that a child who was the victim of human trafficking and declared as a delinquent for an act performed while a victim of human trafficking is entitled to have the delinquent status removed, if certain conditions are met.

“Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal industry worldwide, and effects all corners of Indiana,” McNamara said. “With this policy, we are taking steps to help those who are victims of this horrific crime, by removing their delinquent status and helping them recover from their past.”

Additionally, House Bill 1218 would update the way current petitions of expungement of juvenile records are done. The data would be stored in a separate database system for statistical purposes in order to receive state grants for juvenile programs.

“It is important we have ways to statistically track the juveniles whose records are expunged so we can show the progress being made in the criminal justice system,” McNamara said. “There are many moving parts when dealing with kids who have committed crimes, and tracking the proven methods that work can potentially help others in the future.”

House Bill 1218 will now go to the Senate for further consideration.

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State Rep. Wendy McNamara (R-Evansville) represents House District 76,
which includes portions of Posey and Vanderburgh counties.

A high-resolution photo of McNamara can be downloaded by clicking
here.