New Indiana Senate bill would change how minors are sentenced

NOW: New Indiana Senate bill would change how minors are sentenced

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--- A new bill before the Indiana House of Representatives would change how minors are sentenced in the juvenile and adult systems. Senate Bill 449 would change the age a child could be sent to an adult facility from 13 years old to 12 years old, allow attempted crimes to be considered for sending a minor to an adult facility, and extend the age a minor could be in the juvenile system to 24 years old.

The bill comes on the heels of the Noblesville West Middle School shooting in 2018, where the shooter, who was 13, could only be held in juvenile court until he turns 18 because no one died in that shooting. St. Joseph Prosecuting Attorney says increasing the amount of time a child could be detained in juvenile court would reduce the amount of 17 year old minors who get waived to the adult system.

"I’d rather have that option to keep them in the juvenile system, because now I have jurisdiction with them for 6 years, to get them the services, to get them the help, to get them to stop doing what they’re doing because that’s the whole point of the juvenile system," said Cotter. "I’d rather keep in the juvenile system because the way the law currently is, I’m going to very likely look at waving them."

Opponents of the bill say the bill would end up having an adverse effect on children who are 12 years old by putting them in to the adult system too early.

"The ACLU of Indiana believes young people should remain in the juvenile justice system, regardless of their crimes," said Katie Blair, Public Policy and Advocacy Director of the ACLU of Indiana, in a statement.

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