1997 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice
By: Senator(s) Smith, Johnson (19th)
Senate Bill 2765
(As Passed the Senate)
AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO IMPLEMENT A YOUTH NEW LIFE PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN JUVENILE OFFENDERS; TO REQUIRE THE CORE CURRICULUM TO BE SIMILAR TO THE YOUTH CHALLENGE PROGRAM; TO AUTHORIZE THE DEPARTMENT TO CONTRACT WITH THE MISSISSIPPI NATIONAL GUARD FOR CERTAIN PROGRAM SERVICES; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-605, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The Department of Human Services shall develop and implement a youth life training program for first time youth offenders and other youth offenders meeting the requirements for participation in the program.
(2) The program shall include the core curriculum of the youth challenge program and training in decision-making, personal development, drug counseling and rehabilitation programs, job and life skills designed to meet the correctional and developmental needs of such youth. The program shall require five and one-half (5-1/2) months for completion.
(3) The department shall adopt rules requiring that participants complete a structured disciplinary program and allowing for a restriction on general inmate population privileges.
(4) The department may contract with the Mississippi National Guard to provide facilities program management staff and curriculum execution services. Security and correctional aspects shall remain the responsibility of the department.
(5) Upon receipt of youth offenders, the department shall screen offenders for the "Youth New Life" training program. To participate, an offender must have no physical limitations which would preclude participation in strenuous activity and must not be impaired. In screening offenders for the "Youth New Life" training program, the department shall consider the offender's criminal history and the possible rehabilitative benefits of the program. If an offender meets the specified criteria and space is available, the department shall request in writing from the sentencing court, approval to participate in the "Youth New Life" training program. The sentencing court shall notify the department in writing of placement approval no later than twenty-one (21) days after receipt of the department's request for placement of the youthful offender in the "Youth New Life" training program. Failure to notify the department within twenty-one (21) days shall be considered an approval by the sentencing court for placing the youthful offender in the "Youth New Life" training program.
(6) The program shall provide a period of rigorous training to offenders who require a greater degree of supervision than community control or probation provides. "Youth New Life" training programs may be operated in secure areas or in any area approved by the department.
(7) If an offender in the "Youth New Life" training program becomes unmanageable, the department may place him in an appropriate facility to complete the remainder of his sentence. Upon the offender's successful completion of the "Youth New Life" training program, the department shall submit a report to the court that describes the offender's performance. If the offender's performance has been satisfactory, the court shall issue an order modifying the sentence imposed and placing the offender on probation. If the offender violates the conditions of probation, the court may revoke probation and impose any sentence which it might have originally imposed.
(8) The department is authorized to contract with the Mississippi National Guard to carry out the purpose of this section.
(9) The department and the Mississippi National Guard may accept any available public or private funds that may be used to defray the costs of the program.
SECTION 2. Section 43-21-605, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
43-21-605. (1) In delinquency cases, the disposition order may include any of the following alternatives or combination of the following alternatives, giving precedence in the following sequence:
(a) Release the child without further action;
(b) Place the child in the custody of the parents, a relative or other persons subject to any conditions and limitations, including restitution, as the youth court may prescribe;
(c) Place the child on probation subject to any reasonable and appropriate conditions and limitations, including restitution, as the youth court may prescribe;
(d) Order terms of treatment calculated to assist the child and the child's parents or guardian which are within the ability of the parent or guardian to perform;
(e) Order terms of supervision which may include participation in a constructive program of service or education or civil fines not in excess of Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or restitution not in excess of actual damages caused by the child to be paid out of his own assets or by performance of services acceptable to the victims and approved by the youth court and reasonably capable of performance within one (1) year;
(f) Suspend the child's driver's license by taking and keeping it in custody of the court for not more than one (1) year;
(g) Give legal custody of the child to any of the following:
(i) The Department of Human Services for appropriate placement; or
(ii) Any public or private organization, preferably community-based, able to assume the education, care and maintenance of the child, which has been found suitable by the court; or
(iii) The Department of Human Services for placement in a wilderness training program or a state-supported training school, except that no child under the age of ten (10) years shall be committed to a state training school. The training school may retain custody of the child until the child's twentieth birthday but for no longer. The superintendent of a state training school may parole a child at any time he may deem it in the best interest and welfare of such child. Twenty (20) days prior to such parole, the training school shall notify the committing court of the pending release. The youth court may then arrange subsequent placement after a reconvened disposition hearing except that the youth court may not recommit the child to the training school or any other secure facility without an adjudication of a new offense or probation or parole violation. Prior to assigning the custody of any child to any private institution or agency, the youth court through its designee shall first inspect the physical facilities to determine that they provide a reasonable standard of health and safety for the child. The youth court shall not place a child in the custody of a state training school for truancy, unless such child has been adjudicated to have committed an act of delinquency in addition to truancy; or
(h) Recommend to the child and the child's parents or guardian that the child attend and participate in the Youth Challenge Program under the Mississippi National Guard, as created in Section 43-27-203, subject to the selection of the child for the program by the National Guard; however, the child must volunteer to participate in the program. The youth court may not order any child to apply or attend the program.
(i) Placing the child in the Youth New Life Program under the Mississippi National Guard subject to the selection of the child for the program.
(2) In addition to any of the disposition alternatives authorized under subsection (1) of this section, the disposition order in any case in which the child is adjudicated delinquent for an offense under Section 63-11-30 shall include an order denying the driver's license and driving privileges of the child as required under subsection (8) of Section 63-11-30.
(3) Fines levied under this chapter shall be paid into the general fund of the county but, in those counties wherein the youth court is a branch of the municipal government, it shall be paid into the municipal treasury.
(4) Any institution or agency to which a child has been committed shall give to the youth court any information concerning the child as the youth court may at any time require.
(5) The youth court shall not place a child in another school district who has been expelled from a school district for the commission of a violent act. For the purpose of this subsection, "violent act" means any action which results in death or physical harm to another or an attempt to cause death or physical harm to another.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.