Juvenile offenders now have a better chance of staying in juvenile facilities versus being sent to adult prisons. This week Governor Jay Nixon signed SB 36 which extends the age to 17 ½ years old that a juvenile offender can remain under the Division of Youth Services (DYS). Sponsored by Senator Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape-Girardeau), this new law adds six months eligibility that the court could consider when imposing a juvenile sentence.
Also known as Jonathon’s Law, this bill was filed in response to a young man from southeast Missouri who committed suicide within days of 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.