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Controversial Juvenile Sentencing Bill Clears Senate

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), left and Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis)

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis), left and Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) debate the juvenile sentencing bill on the Senate floor. (Courtesy of the Indiana General Assembly)

Legislation headed to the Indiana House would allow 12-year-olds to be sent to the Department of Correction for crimes that include attempted robbery.

That bill cleared the Senate as the 2020 session’s first half finished.

The bill expands the list of crimes that could send a delinquent child to the Department of Correction and lowers the age of those children to as young as 12. It also potentially puts children in DOC longer, up to age 22 (while they’re currently released at 18).

Sen. Greg Taylor (D-Indianapolis) worries the bill exacerbates a juvenile justice system that’s already skewed against people of color. He discussed that in a back-and-forth with Sen. Mike Young (R-Indianapolis), the bill’s co-author.

READ MORE: Bill Could Send 12-Year-Olds To Department Of Correction

“Black juveniles represented 66 percent. White juveniles represented 29 percent. Do you think we have a problem there?” Taylor says.

Young says, “I think it’s a problem of kids committing crimes that probably don’t have parents in the households that gives them the right instruction.”

There is a study mandated by the bill to look at racial disproportionality in juvenile justice.

Contact Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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