'They risked getting locked up,' Indiana bill proposes harsher penalties for kids who commit crime

In Indiana, a bill focused on harsher penalties for kids is making its way through the statehouse.

Posted: Jan 30, 2020 9:17 AM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI)- In Indiana, a bill focused on harsher penalties for kids is making its way through the statehouse.

Wednesday, Senate Bill 449 passed a Senate committee, which would allow kids accused of major crimes, like murder, to be tried in adult courts.

The bill came as a result of several school shootings. 

For example, in 2018 at Noblesville West Middle School, a 13-year-old shot both his teacher and classmate.

While both victims survived, the teen was sent to a state juvenile facility and will be behind bars until he's 18.

Right now, current law states the minimum age at 13-years-old on murder cases, but the new statue would lower that to 12.

It would also add 6 years onto a sentence, rather than stop at the age of 18.

Vigo County Prosecutor, Terry Modesitt, sits on both sides of the fence for the potential bill.

"I understand both sides of it. I think what it comes down to is this.. we have to understand that all 12-year-olds aren't the same, all 13-year-olds aren't the same, and all ten-year-olds aren't the same," Modesitt said.

However, Vigo County Correctional Officer, Spencer Roeschlein, sees the need for such a bill.

"It does kind of stink for them for their childhood, it won't be the same as other peoples, but again like I said they made decisions and risked getting themselves locked up and they're paying the consequences for it, "Roeschlein said.

For now, we wait as the bill makes its way through the justice system. Prosecutor Modesitt told News 10 by the looks of it, he is not confident the bill will pass. 

"What I've read so far from the statehouse, I'm not positive it's going to pass. However, you never really know what's going to happen," Modesitt explained.

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