SB 279 Wants to Treat Children as Adults in Court


Indiana Senate Bill 279 deals with the waiver of 12-year-olds to adult court.

Twelve and thirteen-year-olds are not well served in the Adult Court, as punishment, and not rehabilitation, is the primary purpose of incarceration. Services available within the juvenile system, where there is a focus on rehabilitation, are not available in the adult system. Further once a child is waived over to adult court, the child is often held in adult jails, exposed to adult offenders, or placed in isolation (solitary confinement) to protect them from assaults from older inmates. In an adult system, a child is treated as an adult, and services that help adolescents develop age-appropriate life skills are non-existent. Whereas, if a child is kept in the juvenile justice system, rehabilitative, educational, life skills oriented, and age-appropriate therapeutic treatment can occur as courts supervise their care in secure confinement up to age 21.

Current Situation

This bill is now being amended into HB 1114, which is being heard in the Senate immediately. This has been done to avoid opposition testimony in the House. We need you to call your senators now to oppose HB 1114 and the amendment that would add SB 279 into the bill on second reading.

Please Help Defeat this Bill

Please call 1-800-382-9467 if you need contact information for your senator. Review the attached bill and amendment below.

  • Here are a few talking points that you may use in your calls.
  • Twelve and thirteen-year-olds are not adults, and should not be tried in adult criminal court. Their competency to stand trial is severely compromised due to their age and their stage of cognitive development.
  • Waiver of young children will disproportionately impact children of color.
  • Younger children are at a higher risk of physical and sexual assault and suicide.
  • Younger children tried in the adult court are much more likely to recidivate and engage in more violent offenses, than those handled by the juvenile justice system.
  • Comprehensive and age-appropriate approaches should be used to address youth violence.

Tell your legislator to oppose HB 1114, and oppose amending SB 279 ie. (Waiver of 12 and 13-Year-Olds into Adult Court) into HB 1114.

Please call your senator immediately!

If it passes second reading it will go to third reading next week. Continue to call your legislators and send emails over the weekend to oppose HB 1114. We will keep you updated on the progress of this bill.

Thank you for helping us defeat this egregious legislation.

Indiana Senate
Phone: 1(800) 382-9467