Minnesota lawmakers set to OK 'transformative' juvenile justice package


Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

Pallbearers carried the coffin of Marcoz, a 14-year-old killed in a car accident following a high-speed chase with Ramsey County Sheriff's deputies. Marcoz's mother, Tanya Gile, said authorities failed her son by not acting sooner when he was getting in trouble and had committed a previous carjacking.

Faced with rising concerns over youth crime, Minnesota lawmakers are poised to pass the most significant changes in a generation to the state's troubled juvenile justice system.

An expansive public safety bill being debated Monday seeks to reduce juvenile crime by creating a new, statewide office that would encourage alternative approaches to holding youth accountable without sentencing them in courts. The measures would also pour tens of millions of dollars into local youth intervention programs designed to steer children away from the criminal justice system.

Lawmakers are set to reach agreement on a proposal that would provide a second chance to minors sentenced to life in prison without parole - a practice widely condemned as inhumane by child advocates. A newly created state board would have the power to release inmates into community supervision programs such as probation if they have already served at least 15 years.



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