The Washington Times-Herald

State News

June 14, 2013

Prison sentence of 12-year-old prompts new juvenile sentencing law

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

The new law creates another option called “dual sentencing,” that essentially allows a young criminal to be sentenced as both a juvenile and an adult.

It allows a judge to send a juvenile convicted as an adult into a state-run juvenile detention center for intensive supervision and treatment until the offender turns 18. Then, at 18, that offender’s adult prison sentence is re-assessed by a judge who has several options: Send the offender on to prison to serve the criminal sentence, send the offender into a community-based corrections program to transition back into society, or send the offender back home free.

Andrew Cullen, legislative liaison for the Indiana Public Defender Council, said the law gives judges a new level of discretion in juvenile matters.

“The criminal justice system should never, ever treat a child like it treats an adult,” Cullen said. “This law recognizes that.”

Until the new law was passed, Indiana was only one of four states that didn’t have some version of dual sentencing, also called blended sentencing, for juveniles convicted of serious crimes.

Republican state Rep. Wendy McNamara, an Evansville school administrator who carried the legislation in the Indiana House, said the new law still provides punishment but recognizes that juveniles need to be treated differently than adult offenders.

“We’re not letting these kids off the hook,” McNamara said. “But the law also says we’re not going to lock them up and throw away the key.”

McNamara and other supporters of the new law were persuaded in part by DOC numbers that show most juveniles sent to the state’s prisons are out within five years.

“They’re kids growing up in prison, being exposed to and influenced by adults who’ve committed terrible and violent crimes,” Dempsey said. “The odds of them coming back out a better person aren’t good.”

Text Only
State News
  • Our view: Throw open the doors

    As allegations and scandals continue to explode about hidden wait lists and cooked books at VA medical care facilities across the country, with hints of even more heinous findings to come, we have to wonder why it's business as usual in our nation's

    May 29, 2014

  • nws-gb011714 Land Zeppelin 2 (front page pic) Inventor hopes Bike Zeppelin takes off GREENSBURG - A local civil engineer has created a Zeppelin-shaped apparatus that allows bicyclists to ride in the rain without getting wet. Greensburg resident Jim Gorman remembers the day that inspiration struck: Nov. 22, 2011. It rained all day, an

    January 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Legislator pushes for public disclosure of former meth homes INDIANAPOLIS – State Rep. Wendy McNamara knew methamphetamine was a scourge on her district in southwestern Indiana, but the damaging effects of the drug really hit her when she met a real estate appraiser who’d suffered lung damage after visiting a

    December 14, 2013

  • Bird statue to be unveiled in Terre Haute Serving double duty as a baseball infielder for the American League's Toronto Blue Jays and basketball guard for Brigham Young University, 20-year-old Danny Ainge found time in March 1979 to drive from Provo, Utah, to Salt Lake City to catch an in-pe

    November 5, 2013

  • news school bill.jpg Pence announces school safety grants

    Flanked by fourth-grade members of the Ambassadors Club and student council at Cedar Elementary School here, Gov. Mike Pence announced more than $9 million in grants for schools statewide to enhance their security.

    November 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • Coats returns home to listen to Hoosiers INDIANAPOLIS -- Republican U.S. Sen. Dan Coats returned home to Indiana this week, hoping to turn the political conversation away from a failed GOP strategy that partially shut down the federal government and toward what he sees as more critical issu

    October 24, 2013

  • Congressman standing firm on government shutdown

    Todd Rokita of Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District has been an outspoken opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — a k a Obamacare — since it was signed into law in 2010.

    On Tuesday, the first day the federal government partially shut down in 17 years, the Republican congressman wasn’t backing down.

    October 1, 2013

  • Laws that carry automatic loss of driver's license under review INDIANAPOLIS -- The legislative study committee that proposed the massive rewrite of Indiana's felony code will soon take on another tough issue: The automatic penalty that causes thousands of Hoosiers to lose their driving privileges for committing

    September 19, 2013

  • Gingerich_AP PHOTO.jpg Prison sentence of 12-year-old prompts new juvenile sentencing law

    Three years ago, when 12-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich became the youngest person in Indiana ever sent to prison as an adult, his story gained international attention and sparked questions about whether children belong behind bars with grown-up offenders.

    June 14, 2013 2 Photos

  • Supt_Ritz 1 .jpg Ritz orders independent analysis of ISTEP results

    Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz has hired an outside expert to determine the validity of ISTEP+ test scores of nearly 80,000 students who were kicked offline while taking the high-stakes standardized test.

    June 10, 2013 1 Photo