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News in Juvenile Justice Legislation

March 12, 2012
Omote Ekwotafia

New Colorado Law Requires Youth Charged as Adults to Be Housed With Youth

Last week, Colorado’s General Assembly acted in favor of Colorado’s youth when they unanimously passed House Bill 12-1139; this week, the bill was signed into law. As a result, children charged as adults must be held in juvenile detention facilities instead of adult jails. The Colorado Juvenile Defender Coalition (CJDC) and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar (CCDB), both NJJN members, have worked very hard to educate the state of Colorado on the harms of holding youth in adult facilities. CJDC reported on the dangers of prosecuting children as adults in its recent report, “Re-Directing Justice: The Consequences of Prosecuting Youth as Adults and the Need to Restore Judicial Oversight.”

 

Georgia's New Bill Will Completely Modernize  Georgia’s Juvenile Code

Thanks in part to the work of JustGeorgia, an NJJN member, Georgia’s House unanimously passed HB 641, the Child Protection and Public Safety Act. The Child Protection and Public Safety Act is a complete overhaul of Georgia’s current juvenile code, and requires additional protection for children in state custody; it also includes provisions that would require a mental health assessment of children before placing them into state custody and help children in foster care learn skills for future independence. 

Senator Bill Hamrick penned the legislation that is the precursor to HB 641, calling for “substantial changes and the modernization of the juvenile court provisions found in the Georgia Code of Law.” Hamrick pointed out that the long-term cost savings will be much higher than the initial start-up costs.

Next, the Georgia Senate will vote on a companion bill, SB 127. Stay tuned!

 

 

Photo: UBC Library, under Creative Commons License.

 

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