This week the House passed SB 36, a bill that would extend the age to 17 ½ years old that a juvenile could remain under of the Division of Youth Services (DYS). Sponsored by Senator Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau), this bill added six months eligibility that the court could consider imposing a juvenile sentence.
Also known as Jonathon’s Law, this bill was filed in response to a 17 year old from southeast Missouri who committed suicide after being sentenced to an adult institution. The MCC supported the bill because the U.S. bishops have urged that youthful offenders should be treated differently than adult offenders. Missouri’s DYS is recognized as a national leader for its successful juvenile justice program in rehabilitating young offenders.
The bill is now being sent to a House-Senate conference committee to iron out some minor differences in the bill.