Keeping Kids in Juvenile Court — Campaign for Youth Justice

October is National Youth Justice Awareness Month.  A profound story details the beginning of this movement by its founder, Tracy McClard, after her son committed suicide following an adult conviction and placement in an adult prison.  Her organization, the Campaign for Youth Justice focuses on the impact of children being transferred into the criminal system, including sentencing and the collateral consequences of having a conviction once returned to the community.  The website has a wealth of information, including research, fact sheets, and a blog.

In Indiana, children as young as ten years old can be transferred to criminal court jurisdiction for an allegation of murder (IC 31-30-3-4).  Children who are fourteen years old can be transferred to criminal court jurisdiction for an allegation of a single felony act that is heinous or aggravated, or if the child allegedly commits an act that is part of a repetitive pattern of delinquency acts (IC 31-30-3-2).  Children must be at least sixteen years old before they can be transferred to criminal court jurisdiction if the child alleged to have committed a Class A Felony, a Class B Felony, Involuntary Manslaughter, Reckless Homicide, or a felony related to controlled substances.

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