Keep your eye on HB 1108 — a bill that would allow the Indiana Department of Correction (DOC) to place juveniles who are sentenced as adults in the Division of Youth Services. This would enable the juveniles to have access to education and counseling services that are generally not available to the adult DOC population. The bill would also allow the case to be returned to the sentencing court for possible modification of the criminal sentence if the juvenile took advantage of services and can show that the objectives of the original sentence have been met or progress has been made. A very similar bill was proposed during last year’s session.
HB 1108 is currently in the Senate and has passed second reading. Contact your senator, if you support this initiative.
This bill sprang from a case that received international attention when a twelve-year-old boy, Paul Gingerich, was waived to adult court for his role in a murder and sentenced to DOC. Paul was so small that the DOC administration did not feel that he could be safely placed in the adult population. So, without any real legal authority to do so, Paul was placed in the DOC Division of Youth Services.
As an aside, Paul’s case has been reversed and remanded back to the juvenile court.