ACLU of Indiana on Committing Kids to the Adult Criminal Legal System

Affiliate: ACLU of Indiana
January 23, 2020 5:30 pm

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ACLU of Indiana
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INDIANAPOLIS — The Senate Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law will hear Senate Bill 449 on Tuesday, January 28. This legislation would reduce the minimum age for committing children to the adult criminal legal system to 12 years old, for certain serious offenses in Indiana.

Katie Blair, public policy and advocacy director with the ACLU of Indiana issued this statement:

“While most states are shifting toward the decriminalization of conduct by young children, Senate Bill 449 would increase the number of children in Indiana’s adult criminal legal system. Legislators are pushing for this change despite a global consensus that children cannot be held to the same standards of responsibility as adults, and are entitled to special protection and treatment.

“SB 449 would give prosecutors immense discretion to charge a 12-year-old in a way that will land that child in the adult criminal legal system. Given the deep racial inequalities in every level of our criminal legal system, this type of discretion could be wielded disproportionately against marginalized populations, especially children of color.

“The ACLU of Indiana believes young people should remain in the juvenile justice system, regardless of their crimes.”

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Youth are still developing, so as a result society treats kids and adults differently in several contexts, such as driving and serving in the military. Yet in the criminal justice system, we treat youth as adults.