ACLU-PA Position: Supports
HB 1381 is an omnibus bill that would make numerous, desperately needed improvements to the juvenile justice system, including:
- Eliminating direct file, the practice of automatically charging children as if they were adults;
- Requiring diversion for many lower level charges;
- Limiting school referral to juvenile court;
- Raising the minimum age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 10 to 13, or 12 in the most serious cases;
- Prohibiting pre-trial detention for youth under 14 and some other youth;
- Eliminating juvenile fines and fees, and limiting restitution;
- Capping the length of juvenile probation;
- Requiring juvenile-specific Miranda rights;
- Eliminating solitary in juvenile facilities with some exceptions; and
- Raising the age of transfer from juvenile to adult court from 14 to 16.
In the memo below, our allies at the Juvenile Law Center provide a comprehensive analysis of the problems plaguing the juvenile justice system and how HB 1381 proposes to address many of those deficiencies.
Check the bill's status here.