Two juvenile justice proposals saw legislative action recently.
The bill emerged from the interim committee studying Juvenile Justice and requires a local law enforcement agency to inform officials when a juvenile is suspected of violating drug or alcohol laws or threatening violence.
Sen. Erin Tobin, the bill’s prime sponsor, said it “allows for better communications” in order to “protect students” by making the communication from local law enforcement to school administrators “a priority.” An amendment to the bill makes the communication confidential.
Sen. Tobin also pitched Senate Bill 4, which modifies a court’s authority to commit a habitual juvenile offender to the Department of Corrections, to the Senate Judiciary committee.
“There’s currently no language for repeat (juvenile) offenders,” Sen. Tobin said. “Children are allowed to habitually offend until their crimes escalate.”
The bill would permit a court to remit a juvenile offender to the Department of Corrections if “the child has been previously adjudicated delinquent for separate delinquent acts, arising out of separate and distinct criminal episodes, three or more times within the preceding twelve-month period.”
“If you get in serious trouble, three or more times…those children shouldn’t be back in the school the next day,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany testified. “We think (Department of) Corrections can deal with it better than (schools) can.”
SB 4’s committee hearing was continued to Tuesday, January 31 for additional testimony, debate and vote.