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Indiana Sentencing Reform Gives Judges More Options When Punishing Youth

New Indiana Law Provides Alternative Sentencing for Juveniles Convicted of Adult Crimes

States across the nation are studying their criminal justice policies to determine if they are following best practices for handling youth who break the law. Indiana is in line with this national trend.

Under a new dual sentencing law passed in 2013, Indiana judges can sentence youth convicted of adult crimes to a juvenile correctional facility for appropriate supervision and rehabilitative treatment until the youth turns 18, then review the sentence at 18 to determine the appropriate long-term consequence. Before the new law went into effect last July, judges had little discretion in sentencing juveniles. They could either detain convicted youth in a juvenile facility until 18 or send them to the criminal court system where they would be tried and sentenced as an adult.

Under the new dual sentencing law, the court’s options once the youth turns 18 are to either:

  1. Continue the placement in a juvenile facility,
  2. Discharge the sentence if the objectives of the sentence have been met,
  3. Order all or part of the suspended sentence to be served in an adult facility of the Indiana Department of Correction, or
  4. Place the juvenile in a community program.

Children as Young as 10 Can Be Tried As Adults in Indiana

Indiana law allows juveniles age ten and older to be tried in adult court if they commit adult crimes. “Waiver of jurisdiction” is the official term used when a juvenile court surrenders its right to hear a case and refers the case to the adult criminal justice system. Offenses that are considered adult crimes in Indiana include:

  • Aggravated felonies or repeated delinquent acts
  • Felonies related to illegal drugs
  • Murder, involuntary manslaughter or reckless homicide

Numerous studies by criminologists, attorneys and others show that prosecuting and sentencing youth in adult court for serious offenses substantially increases the possibility that they will reoffend in adulthood. Further, children are 36 times more likely to commit suicide in adult prison than in a juvenile detention facility. While juveniles should be held accountable for the unlawful acts they commit, they deserve a real chance to be rehabilitated and be protected from harm. Rehabilitation is more likely to happen when judges have a variety of options available to them for resolving the juvenile case. The new dual sentencing law is a significant step towards stemming the cycle of recidivism and promoting safety for children.

Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney John Razumich Is a Strong and Effective Advocate for Youth Charged as Adults

Juveniles charged with adult crimes in Indiana require a defense attorney with a history of successfully obtaining dismissals and fair sentences in juvenile and adult court. Attorney John Razumich aggressively defends Indiana youth against a wide range of criminal charges, from basic misdemeanors to complex felony charges. If you or your loved one have been charged with an adult crime, Mr. Razumich will advocate for you every step of the way to get the best results.

This website has been prepared by John Razumich, Attorney at Law for informational purposes only and does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice. The information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.  

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