With three weeks left in the legislative session, a bill to ban juveniles from being held in adult jails pre-trial continues to move through the process. This week SB 618, sponsored by Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau), had a hearing in the House Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence Committee. The underlying bill would keep individuals below the age of 17 out of adult jails while the youth is waiting trial. Instead the youth would be held in a secure detention facility.
The bill also contains two amendments added in the Senate. One amendment establishes a process to determine if a youth is to be shackled in a courtroom. The other amendment would prevent the shackling of a pregnant woman in the second and third trimesters and shortly after the birth of the child unless there were extraordinary circumstances.
The MCC, along with numerous other groups, testified in support of the bill. The committee took no action on the bill.