Friday, 15 April 2011

Assembly Considers Juvenile Prison Reform

LAS VEGAS -- Nevada lawmakers are taking first steps towards juvenile justice reform.

More than 100 children as young as 13 are serving sentences in adult jails. Supporters of a new bill say this situation makes them targets for abuse and a life of continued crime.

Assembly Bill 272 would raise the age children can be tried as adults from 14 for 16 for everything except murder and attempted murder.

Michael Lawson came out to the Grant Sawyer Building on Saturday to help convince lawmakers to support the bill.

The 21 year-old was sentenced to three years in prison at the age of 16 for robbing a grocery store

"Juvenile system is more aimed at helping you with your mind helping rehabilitate you. Within the adult system there's no hope left for you, they have few programs," said Lawson.

Esther Brown is the founder of "The Embracing Project," an organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth.

She says kids who commit crimes need to be placed in juvenile facilities where they have access to treatment and education.

"I always ask people the same question , what if this was your child? What would you do? Would you put him in prison full of 40 and 50 year old men where they can get raped and harassed or will you try to get them help," said Brown.

After Saturday's hearing Assembly Bill 272 will be discussed again and must pass out of the state assembly before moving onto the Senate.

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