Rep. Wendy McNamara’s (R- Mt. Vernon) House Bill 1365 gives the Department of Corrections (DOC) and judiciary options when sentencing juveniles. The bill passed out of the House on Friday and will now be discussed in the Senate.
The bill allows for juveniles convicted as adults to remain in the juvenile justice system until they are more age appropriate for placement in the adult system.
“The bill ensures that juveniles under the age of 17 will be appropriately places regardless of the criminal act,” said Rep. McNamara.
Indiana is one out of four North Midwestern states who do not provide for alternative placements for juveniles tried as an adult. 32 states have some form of reverse waiver, criminal blending sentencing or both.
“Adolescent development is negatively influenced by the adult prison environment,” said Rep. McNamara. “We cannot expect a child to develop normally in such an environment and then to return to the community in the 20’s as rehabilitated, productive citizens.”
Youth sentenced under this section can be transferred to the adult system at any point they prove to be unmanageable in the juvenile system. It allows the court to exercise dual jurisdiction over juveniles tried as an adult and permits the IDOC to house juveniles who are appropriate in the Division of Youth Services. If the juvenile is not appropriate, the IDOC will house the juvenile tried as an adult in an adult facility.