Legislators Move to Overhaul NJ Juvenile Justice
By Devon Jones
The New Jersey Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee on June 1, 2015 recommended final legislative passage of a bill, S2003, which would be sure to make changes in the juvenile justice system. According to the New Jersey Law Journal, the measure passed in a 5-3 vote and will now go to the full Assembly for consideration. The bill would make drastic changes in the juvenile justice system.
What changes would be made to the Juvenile Justice System? One of the most drastic changes will be seen in the minimum age at which a juvenile offender could be tried as an adult from the age of 14 or older. Experts suggest juveniles are becoming less impulsive and those who commit crimes think like adults and are less likely to be rehabilitated.
What steps must a prosecutor take to have a juvenile tried as an adult? According to the New Jersey Law Journal, prosecutors seeking to have a juvenile tried as an adult would have 60 days, rather than 30, to make that decision. It is noted that the prosecutor must provide the Family Court judge with written analysis outlining why the waiver is appropriate and substantial. However, the judge handling the waiver motion is permitted to deny the request at the conclusion of conducting his or her own analysis.
Will juveniles be able to be held in solitary confinement? Yes, juveniles can be subjected to solitary confinement, however there will be restrictions in place. If the juvenile in question is a threat to others, the safety of the facility, and all other restrictive measure were exhausted, the necessary officials can place the juvenile in solitary confinement. Facility personnel who handle the juvenile are required to documents every case as it relates to solitary confinement which should include dates, duration of each occurrence, reason for the placement, race, age and gender of the juvenile.
Considering the bill will now go to full Assembly for consideration, I will watch this closely to stay updated with the process. While the juvenile justice system has undergone vast changes over the years, I believe new changes will surface to match the present day dilemma. As evidenced by the article listed, lawmakers are looking at new ways to deal with juvenile crime by modifying existing practices to achieve their goals.
Source: Booth, Michael. “Legislators Move to Overhaul NJ Juvenile Justice System.” Njlawjournal.com. N.p., 2 June 2015. Web. 3 June 2015.