H.3079 An Act to promote transparency, best practices and better outcomes for children and communiti

Type:  Criminal Justice 

This bill ensures an effective juvenile justice system in order to reduce crime and promote best practices to get youth on the right track. Approximately half of the youth incarcerated or detained in Massachusetts have a misdemeanor as their most serious offense. These youth could be best served in a community setting at a far lower cost. Therefore, this bill raises the lower limit of Juvenile Court jurisdiction to exclude very young children (under 11), codifies the existing Juvenile Court practice to ensure that children are not indiscriminately shackled during court proceedings, decriminalizes the violation of town ordinances currently decriminalized for adults, allows courts to consider age as a mitigating factor in cases involving young adults and ensures that parents are appropriately involved in helping their children in the court system by creating a parent-child privilege. It also creates a mechanism to seal and expunge records for offenses committed before age 21 to prevent a lifelong barrier to success and requires agencies to collect data on youth entering the juvenile justice system and their outcomes in order to bring Massachusetts into compliance with federal law.