Currently, prosecutors unilaterally decide whether to charge a youth as adults. Once they make that decision, the child is an adult for criminal law purposes forever - even if their case is dropped. There’s no way to appeal this decision. We support HB 575, which would provide a judicial due process hearing, ensuring youth can appeal to a judge to keep them in the juvenile system, where they have a chance at redemption.

Facts:

  • Florida leads the nation in prosecuting youth as adults. We send more youth (>900) to the adult system than California, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Michigan combined.

  • More than 70% of kids charged as adults receive probation, not prison time, because their crimes and histories do not support a prison sentence.

  • About 22% of our state’s youth population are black, while 63% of youth charged as adults are black.

  • Kids processed through the punitive adult system, rather than the rehabilitative juvenile, are more likely to commit additional crimes - even when their risk to reoffend was equal before sanctions.

See the Keep Kids Learning Institute for more info.

Related bills:

  • SB 850/HB 339: Raise the minimum age to be charged as an adult and eliminate mandatory direct file.

  • SB 870: Allows judges to decide not to hold youth charged as adults in adult county jails pending trial.

  • HB 6051/SB : Eliminates mandatory direct file



 

Sponsors

Rep. James Bush

Status

Introduced

Session

2019

Bill number

Position

Support

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