2005 Regular Session
To: Juvenile Justice
By: Representative Carlton
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 43-21-605, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES TO CONDUCT AN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF THE HOME OF A CHILD WHO IS IN THE CUSTODY OF A STATE-SUPPORTED TRAINING SCHOOL BEFORE THE CHILD IS RELEASED FROM SUCH SCHOOL, AND TO REQUIRE THAT THE DEPARTMENT PROVIDE THE RESULTS OF THE ASSESSMENT TO THE COMMITTING COURT BEFORE THE CHILD IS RETURNED TO HIS OR HER HOME; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. 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:
(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, 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;
(j) Order the child to participate in a youth court work program as provided in Section 43-21-627; or
(k) Order the child into a juvenile detention center operated by the county or into a juvenile detention center operated by any county with which the county in which the court is located has entered into a contract for the purpose of housing delinquents. The time period for such detention cannot exceed ninety (90) days. The youth court judge may order that the number of days specified in the detention order be served either throughout the week or on weekends only.
(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) If the youth court places a child in a state-supported training school, the court may order the parents or guardians of the child and other persons living in the child's household to receive counseling and parenting classes for rehabilitative purposes while the child is in the legal custody of the training school. A youth court entering an order under this subsection (3) shall utilize appropriate services offered either at no cost or for a fee calculated on a sliding scale according to income unless the person ordered to participate elects to receive other counseling and classes acceptable to the court at the person's sole expense.
(4) Before returning a child to his or her home upon release from a state-supported training school, the Department of Human Services shall conduct an environmental assessment of the home where such child shall reside after he or she is released. The Department of Human Services shall provide the results of the environmental assessment of the home to the committing court. Before returning the child to the home, the committing court, based upon the assessment, must ensure that the return of the child to the home is in the best interest of the child, and that the home environment will be supportive of the child's rehabilitation.
(5) 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.
(6) 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.
(7) 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.
(8) The youth court may require drug testing as part of a disposition order. If a child tests positive, the court may require treatment, counseling and random testing, as it deems appropriate. The costs of such tests shall be paid by the parent, guardian or custodian of the child unless the court specifically finds that the parent, guardian or custodian is unable to pay.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2005.