The California Catholic Conference today called on members of the Senate Public Safety Committee to pass SB 1391, a bill by Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Long Beach) that would end the practice of trying 14 and 15 year old children as adults, making sure they are tried as Juveniles and that they receive every opportunity for rehabilitation through the juvenile justice system rather than a lifetime of incarceration in the adult prison system.
“The purpose of the criminal justice system is to protect society and do everything we can prevent criminal activity,” said Linda Wanner, associate director of government relations at the California Catholic Conference. “This means doing everything we can to rehabilitate youth offenders and not just make them better criminals by dealing with them through the adult justice system.”
“The decision to try a young person as an adult is irrevocably life altering,” said Wanner. “The juvenile system is very different from the adult system. It provides age-appropriate treatment, services, counseling and education.”
“And because the children are minors, participation in these programs is mandatory,” continued Wanner.
“We need to remember that juvenile offenders are just that, juveniles,” said Wanner. “If we can help them steer away from a lifetime spent in and out of jail, all of us and all of society will be better off.”