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Group Hopes To Change Juvenile Sentencing For 17 Year Olds

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The Deputy Director of the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families is hoping a conscensus is building to convince legislators to give some juvenile offenders a second chance.

Deputy Director Jim Moeser says 17 year old offenders are considered adults and he says that should be reconsidered....

"....we've been working for quite a few years to get 17 year olds who are now considered adults for any offense, getting the majority of those youth back into the juvenile system to give them a fair shot at services and not having a record that will haunt them for the rest of their lives...."

Moeser says the juvenile justice system tends to have better services to help a young person taking the wrong path....

"....they're much more likely to get(help) in the juvenile system whether that's family work, or educational support or other kinds of treatment services, they're much more common in the juvenile system.So getting them back on track as an individual is useful. There's also research that it reduces crime in the long run...."

Moeser says this would be for non-violent offenses.

Moeser says they will be working with legislators on the idea. He says if legislatures moves forward on the idea, one issue is to figure out who pays for the additional services, the state or counties. He says they would have to find a way that counties are not harmed financially by taking on the juveniles that would have been in the adult corrections system.

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