Legislature Takes First Step To Overhaul Juvenile-Justice System

By: The Associated Press Email
By: The Associated Press Email

Lawmakers gave first-round approval Thursday to a bill intended to reduce the number of incarcerated juveniles in Nebraska and shift the state's focus to treatment.

Sen. Brad Ashford introduced the measure, which passed 39-0, as part of a broader overhaul of the state's juvenile-justice system. The proposal would require that criminal charges against minors would first be filed in juvenile court. Prosecutors could then seek to transfer a case to adult court by filing a motion and a hearing would be held in juvenile court.

A recent study by the Juvenile Justice Institute found that 45 percent of youths charged in Nebraska between 2010 and 2011 were prosecuted as adults. Advocate say the vast majority are charged with misdemeanors.

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