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Juvenile justice bill passes Senate

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A bill that incorporated suggestions from attendees and organizers of an Indiana State Bar Association-sponsored juvenile justice summit last summer passed the Indiana Senate 45-3 Feb. 18.

House Bill 1193 originally included two main parts: training for all police who regularly work with juveniles, particularly for school resource officers and others who work in school settings; and creating a work study group to consider best practices for handling juvenile offenses.

The two parts of the bill combined had the ultimate goal of decreasing detention time for low-level offenses, such as school fights, students who talk back to teachers, and students who use offensive language but don't physically harm anyone.

In some districts that have looked at this issue and adjusted their disciplinary actions, graduation rates have increased, and parole officers and others in the system have had more time to spend with the felony-level offenders, such as those who bring drugs or weapons to school.

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a version of the House bill Feb. 11 that didn't include language about training, but it kept the language about the study group. Committee members agreed to the amendment to remove the part about training for officers because of the estimated $40,000 cost of training.

The change disappointed HB 1193's author, Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, a former police officer who said the training part of the bill was important.

At Indiana Lawyer deadline, the bill had been returned to the House. Concurrences or dissents couldn't be filed until after IL deadline, according to Paje Felts, legislative counsel at ISBA.

 

Original story " School-focused bill moves to Senate" IL Feb. 17-March 2, 2010

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