1998 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice; Appropriations
By: Representative Flaggs
House Bill 189
AN ACT TO REQUIRE THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO ESTABLISH A JUVENILE ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM AS A PILOT PROGRAM IN EACH SUPREME COURT DISTRICT FOR FIRST AND SECOND YOUTH OFFENDERS; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT TO SUBMIT A REPORT ON THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROGRAM TO CERTAIN LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES; TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-605, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE YOUTH COURTS TO ORDER YOUTH OFFENDERS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE JUVENILE ALTERNATIVE PROGRAM AS A DISPOSITION ALTERNATIVE IN DELINQUENCY CASES; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) The State Department of Education shall establish a pilot program to be known as the "Juvenile Alternative Program." The program shall be designed for youths who have been designated as first or second offenders by the youth court system and shall be modeled after the Vicksburg Juvenile Alternative Program. Offenders ordered to participate in the program shall take part in a behavior modification course that identifies behavioral problems and teaches the skills required to correct such problems. If an offender fails to cooperate in the program, the youth court shall issue an order modifying the original disposition order and may elect any disposition alternative which the court could have originally imposed.
(2) The State Department of Education shall designate one (1) school district within each Supreme Court district to participate in the pilot program. In the Central District, the program shall be in the Vicksburg-Warren School District.
(3) Before November 1, 2000, the State Department of Education shall prepare a report on the effectiveness of the pilot program to be submitted to the chairmen of the Juvenile Justice and Education Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate. The report shall include information concerning the number of offenders ordered to participate in the program and the rate of recidivism of offenders successfully completing the program. The department shall address in the report whether or not the Juvenile Alternative Program should be considered as an additional or alternative program to the alternative school program in each school district.
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; * * *
(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) (i) Adjudicate the juvenile to the Statewide Juvenile Work Program if the program is established in the court's jurisdiction. The juvenile and his parents or guardians must sign a waiver of liability in order to participate in the work program. The judge will coordinate with the youth services counselors as to placing participants in the work program.
(ii) The severity of the crime and whether or not the juvenile is a repeat offender or is a felony offender will be taken into consideration by the judge when adjudicating a juvenile to the work program. The juveniles adjudicated to the work program will be supervised by police officers or reserve officers. The term of service will be from twenty-four (24) to one hundred twenty (120) hours of community service. A juvenile will work the hours to which he was adjudicated on the weekends during school and week days during the summer. Parents are responsible for a juvenile reporting for work. Noncompliance with an order to perform community service will result in a heavier adjudication. A juvenile may be adjudicated to the community service program only two (2) times.
(iii) The judge shall assess an additional fine on the juvenile which will be used to pay the costs of implementation of the program and to pay for supervision by police officers and reserve officers. The amount of the fine will be based on the number of hours to which the juvenile has been adjudicated; or
(j) Order the child to participate in the Juvenile Alternative Program, as created under Section 1 of this act.
(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 July 1, 1998.