October 23, 2014

Concerns juvy justice bill is an unfunded mandate

The leaders of Milwaukee County are opposing a bill that would send accused 17-year-olds to juvenile court will be an unfunded mandate. Currently teens of that age are tried as adults in Wisconsin. Taxpayers in all Wisconsin counties have to spend $100,000 to send an offender to juvenile corrections; “To put that into perspective you could send two kids to Harvard for that amount,” says Milwaukee County Board spokesman Harold Mester.  

County Executive Scott Walker and Board Chairman Lee Holloway claim the legislation would cost their county taxpayers an additional $24 million each year.

More than 50-percent of the current juvenile offenders come from Milwaukee County.

Mester says Chairman Holloway might be open to a change in the juvenile justice standard if a funding mechanism were included in the measure.

The change to try 17-year-olds in adult court came about in the mid-1990s and similar attempts to roll back the law have failed the legislature.

The bill by State Representative Fred Kessler (D-Milwaukee) would phase 17-year-olds back into the juvenile court system over a two year period starting with misdemeanors then felonies. Kessler claims offenders have more a chance at rehabilitation in juvenile programs.

Brian Moon reports (:72)

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