Locked up: Legislation seek changes to juvenile justice

Locked up: Legislation seek changes to juvenile justice

By KIM CHANDLER
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama lawmakers this session could consider an overhaul of the state's juvenile justice system.

Despite a reform effort nearly a decade ago, advocates contend Alabama continues to lock up too many kids in detention facilities for low-level offenses.

The legislation, introduced in the House and Senate, seeks an emphasis on intervention and to limit which children get sent to lock-up or automatically moved to adult court.

Rep. Jim Hill, a former juvenile judge who's sponsoring the bill, said many counties lack resources to work with children locally.

According to the Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force, nearly two-thirds of referrals to Department of Youth Services' custody in 2016 were for children who didn't commit a felony. They were sent there for probation violations, misdemeanor offenses.

The legislation is the result of Task Force recommendations.

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