Proposed bill would allow children as young as 12 to be tried as adults for certain serious offenses


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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A bill proposed in the Indiana Senate would reduce the minimum age for committing children to the adult criminal legal system from 13 years old to 12 years old for certain serious offenses.

Sen. Erin Houchin of Salem (R) authored Indiana Senate Bill 449.

In addition to reducing the minimum age for which a child can be tried in adult court, the bill would also add “an attempt to commit certain serious offenses to the list of serious offenses,” and it would allow the court to “commit a juvenile to the department of correction for up to six years.”

Opponents of the bill, like ACLU of Indiana, say Indiana’s criminal justice system should not treat a 12-year-old as an adult.

A release from ACLU of Indiana says, “There is mounting scientific evidence that children and adults are fundamentally different in how they make decisions. Young people should remain in the juvenile justice system, regardless of their crimes.”

The first reading of the bill occurred on January 16. It was referred to the Committee on Corrections and Criminal Law. The Senate hearing for the proposal is scheduled for Tuesday, January 28.

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