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Locked up: Legislation seek changes to juvenile justice

The legislation seeks an emphasis on intervention and to limit which children get sent to lock-up or automatically moved to adult court.

Posted: Feb 19, 2018 7:12 AM

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama lawmakers this session could consider an overhaul of the state's juvenile justice system.

Despite a reform effort nearly a decade ago, advocates contend Alabama continues to lock up too many kids in detention facilities for low-level offenses.

The legislation, introduced in the House and Senate, seeks an emphasis on intervention and to limit which children get sent to lock-up or automatically moved to adult court.

Rep. Jim Hill, a former juvenile judge who's sponsoring the bill, said many counties lack resources to work with children locally.

According to the Alabama Juvenile Justice Task Force, nearly two-thirds of referrals to Department of Youth Services' custody in 2016 were for children who didn't commit a felony. They were sent there for probation violations, misdemeanor offenses.

The legislation is the result of Task Force recommendations.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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