12-Year Olds Do Not Belong in Adult Court
TAKE ACTION NOW
The Indiana legislature is proposing a step back for juvenile justice.
Senate Bill 279 would automatically waive juvenile court jurisdiction for children 12 years and older who have been accused of attempted murder or murder, sending children to the adult court and prison systems. Young people should remain in the juvenile justice system, regardless of their crimes. When youth under 18 are incarcerated in adult jails and prisons, these children are at greater risk of suicide and physical and sexual assault.
In addition, by adding “attempted murder” to the waiver, this bill gives prosecutors immense discretion to charge a 12-year old in a way that will land that child in adult court and prison. This type of discretion may be wielded against marginalized populations, specifically children of color in the juvenile justice system.
Indiana’s criminal justice system should not treat a 12-year old as an adult. Elected officials should take a deeper look at policy reform that would help to prevent juvenile acts of violence, rather than passing knee-jerk legislation that deepens already severe disparities within the criminal justice system.
Together, we can take action for juvenile justice. Contact the Speaker of the House and your House representative to oppose SB 279.
Your State House Representative
Speaker of the House Brian Bosma