Gov. Jerry Brown signs measure to minimize youth sentencing

The measures are set to take effect in 2019.

Jerry BrownGovernor Jerry Brown signed measures on Sunday that aim to limit when and how young people are prosecuted for criminal charges.

When he first took to office, Gov. Jerry Brown said he supported tough sentencing policies. Now in his final term, he’s working to reverse those same tough policies he said he once supported.

Senate Bill 439 states that the minimum for prosecution in juvenile court is 12 years of age. The only exception is if a minor younger than 12 commits rape or murder.

Senate Bill 1391 will aim to limit the ability of a defendant under the age of 16 to be tried as an adult. Before this bill, prosecutors could request to transfer young minors to adult court if they were charged with murder, arson, robbery, rape, or kidnapping.

“There is a fundamental principle at stake here: whether we want a society which at least attempts to reform the youngest offenders before consigning them to adult prisons where their likelihood of becoming a lifelong criminal is so much higher,” Gov. Brown wrote in his signing message for Senate Bill 1391.

Both of the bills were written by Democrat Senators Holly Mitchell and Ricardo Lara. The measures are set to take effect in 2019.

“My view is that we should continue to work toward a more just system that respects victims, protects public safety, holds youth accountable, and also seeks a path of redemption and reformation whenever possible,” Brown said.

 

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