Juvenile Officers concerned about bill that would try 17-year-ol - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Juvenile Officers concerned about bill that would try 17-year-olds as juveniles

Missouri could soon try 17-year-olds criminals as juveniles.  (Source: KFVS) Missouri could soon try 17-year-olds criminals as juveniles. (Source: KFVS)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Missouri could soon try 17-year-olds criminals as juveniles.

Right now they're automatically tried in adult court, but a bill sponsored by Senator Wayne Wallingford could change that.

"I feel like they are much better served in the juvenile court system we have more services available that are geared towards rehabilitation or preventing this type of behavior as opposed to just admitting them to the department of corrections," said Diedra Ashley, Chief Juvenile Officer in the 34th Circuit.

She said, for the most part, she supports Senator Wallingford's bill to allow 17-year-olds to remain in the juvenile court. 

"The purpose of my raise the age to 18 was to reduce the number of youth in the adult system, and I had three goals in mind," said Senator Wallingford in a phone interview.

He said those three goals are to save the youth, make Missouri safer and save taxpayer money.  

Ashley said she believes 17-year-olds would benefit from being in the juvenile system but she's afraid the senator is overlooking some things. 

"Number one is the effect that it's going to have on the juvenile offices who are already underfunded and understaffed," said Ashley. "We're not going to have the resources to give them the services and the attention that they need."

She's also concerned this change could affect schools, because right now in Missouri a child has the choice to quit attending school at 17, and she believes if this legislation passes the age could be moved to 18. 
    
"And despite our best efforts sometimes we cannot convince these kids the value of an education and if you've got an older teenager and they've made up their mind they don't want to be in school forcing them to be there is going to cause disruptions, distractions for other students who do value their education," said Ashley. 

Speaking of education, with 17-year-olds being put in the adult system, Senator Wallingford is afraid they are getting the wrong kind.

"I always say the prison system is a graduate school for learning more about criminality," said Wallingford

"The same concerns they have for sticking a 17-year-old in an adult facility I would have the same concerns for sticking a 10-year-old in with an 18-year-old," said Ashley.

If this bill is passed it will not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2021.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2018 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • American ISIS wife endured horror, now wants to come home

    American ISIS wife endured horror, now wants to come home

    Thursday, April 19 2018 7:26 PM EDT2018-04-19 23:26:55 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 9:02 PM EDT2018-04-20 01:02:08 GMT

    Sam Sally says she was coerced by her husband, who has since died, into crossing into ISIS territory while on vacation in Turkey four years ago.

    Sam Sally says she was coerced by her husband, who has since died, into crossing into ISIS territory while on vacation in Turkey four years ago.

  • Teen death in van: Family storms out of city hall after councilman 'crossed the line'

    Teen death in van: Family storms out of city hall after councilman 'crossed the line'

    Wednesday, April 18 2018 10:32 AM EDT2018-04-18 14:32:46 GMT
    Kyle Plush's uncle confronts Councilman Wendell Young, saying he "crossed the line" at Tuesday's City Council meeting. (FOX19 NOW)Kyle Plush's uncle confronts Councilman Wendell Young, saying he "crossed the line" at Tuesday's City Council meeting. (FOX19 NOW)

    Kyle Plush's family stormed out of a City Hall meeting after sitting through five hours of testimony Tuesday, saying one councilman "crossed the line."

    Kyle Plush's family stormed out of a City Hall meeting after sitting through five hours of testimony Tuesday, saying one councilman "crossed the line."

  • Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with US government

    Lance Armstrong settles $100M lawsuit with US government

    Thursday, April 19 2018 4:32 PM EDT2018-04-19 20:32:44 GMT
    Thursday, April 19 2018 9:16 PM EDT2018-04-20 01:16:01 GMT
    (Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File). FILE - In this July 24, 2004, file pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th ...(Bernard Papon/Pool Photo via AP, File). FILE - In this July 24, 2004, file pool photo, overall leader Lance Armstrong, right, of Austin, Texas, follows compatriot and teammate Floyd Landis, left, in the ascent of the La Croix Fry pass during the 17th ...
    Lance Armstrong has reached a$5 million settlement with the federal government in a civil whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the former cyclist.
    Lance Armstrong has reached a$5 million settlement with the federal government in a civil whistleblower lawsuit that could have sought $100 million in damages from the former cyclist.
Powered by Frankly