Juvenile justice

On recommitment, the House Ways and Means Committee heard SB 368 authored by Sen. Tallian and sponsored by Rep, McNamara on juvenile justice.  Sen. Tallian introduced the legislation, which provides for the automatic expungement of certain juvenile offenses when a child reaches nineteen (19) years of age, or one (1) year after the date on which the juvenile court discharges the child, whichever is later.

Another section of the legislation, effective July 1, 2020, prohibits juvenile arrestees who meet certain requirements from being housed with adult inmates prior to trial, with certain exceptions. It permits waived or juvenile arrestees automatically excluded from juvenile court jurisdiction to be housed in an adult facility after a hearing, upon court order in writing, only if the court considers:

  • the age, physical and mental maturity of the juvenile arrestee
  • the present mental state of the juvenile and risk the juvenile arrestee presents to the arrestee or others
  • the nature of the alleged offense
  • the prior history of the delinquent or criminal acts of the juvenile,
  • the ability of the available adult and juvenile detention facilities to not only meet the specific needs of the juvenile but to also protect the public and safety of other detained youth
  • and other relevant factors.

The legislation also provides for the time period a juvenile arrestee can be housed in an adult facility.

An amendment passed by the Ways and Means Committee provides for an effective date of December 31, 2022, rather than July 1, 2022, for the new procedures for determining juvenile competency to stand trial. The amendment was explained as needed to permit DCS to prepare and implement competency attainment services for juveniles. The same amendment provides if the court finds the child competency services are not in the best interests of the child, the court may, if it appears to the court that a child is mentally ill, refer the matter to the court having probate jurisdiction for a civil commitment or initiate a civil commitment under IC 12-26.  This portion of the amendment was explained by Representative McNamara to permit a juvenile court to refer the juvenile who cannot obtain competency for mental health treatment.

The bill also includes language to direct that after a juvenile court has determined that a child is a dual status child, the juvenile court may refer the child to be assessed by a dual status assessment team instead of requiring the referral.

The Indiana Public Defender Council, Senior Judge Gettinger on behalf of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, and various community members testified in support of the bill.  The amended bill passed 23-0.

Read the bill at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2021/bills/senate/368