WHEELERweek – Juveniles

As published by The Wheeler Report – Friday, April 28, 1995   

In the Legislature:

Joint Finance continued work on the budget bill, taking votes on juvenile justice and youth services issues and Department of corrections changes…

This week’s decision included approval of sending 17-year-olds charged with serious felonies to adult court and allowing waiver of children aged 12 and up to adult court under certain circumstances…

The 1995-96 budget bill (Act 27) was enacted July 28, 1995, and included the provisions moving 17-year-olds to adult court.

In February of 2008 the Legislative Audit Bureau published a report (highlights) on the effect the provisions of 1995 Act 27 had on affected 17-year-olds.

As part of the report, LAB estimated a $53.5M – $82.4M annual cost to return 17-year-olds to the juvenile courts, but noted cost savings in adult corrections were possible with the change. LAB also recommended options for Legislative consideration:

  • Retaining criminal court jurisdiction over 17-year-olds;
  • Changing the age of criminal court jurisdiction to 18, and thereby returning 17-year-olds to the jurisdiction of the juvenile courts;
  • Making incremental change, such as retaining criminal court jurisdiction for 17-year-old felony offenders or expanding programs that allow juvenile offenders to remain under supervision for a longer time period; or
  • Delaying implementation of any change, to allow DOC, the courts, and the counties time to prepare for it programmatic and fiscal effects

And Today …

Rep. Born and Sen. Petrowski have introduced a bill (AB-660/SB-550) that would raise the age of criminal court jurisdiction to 18.  The bill includes a $5 million appropriation to DCF for reimbursement to counties to offset the costs of handling 17-year-olds.  The bill also requires DCF to request an additional $5 million from Joint Finance in the event the original $5 million is spent by counties.

Neither bill has been scheduled for a hearing.
Cosponsorship Memo
Sen. Petrowski interview with WI Public Radio.