Significant Reforms to Juvenile Justice Code Passes Georgia State Senate

ATLANTA (March 21, 2013) – House Bill 242, a landmark juvenile justice reform bill that calls for substantial changes in the state’s juvenile court proceedings, passed the Georgia State Senate today by a vote of 47 to 0. Based on recommendations and years of work by the Governor’s Special Council on Justice Reform, the legislation calls for well-defined articles outlining a juvenile’s right to procedural due process, family preservation and proper representation based on the specific reason for juvenile court intervention. The bill was sponsored in the House by Rep. Wendell Willard (R – Sandy Springs) and carried in the Senate by Sen. Charlie Bethel (R – Dalton).

“By updating our outdated juvenile code, we can focus on the proper rehabilitative measures needed to move children out of the juvenile court system permanently,” said Sen. Bethel. “I’d like to thank Governor Deal for his full support of the legislation and the Special Council on Justice Reform for their hard work and dedication.”

HB 242 modernizes existing code by dividing provisions into 11 clearly delineated articles to create a more efficient system for the rehabilitation and counseling of youth and families within the system. Separating aggressive crimes from less severe acts, court jurisdiction, court-ordered investigations into abuse and neglect, a timeline for delinquency proceedings and evaluations for serious violent felonies are among the subjects addressed in the bill.

HB 242 will now transfer back to the House for the approval of minor changes made in the Senate Judiciary committee.

For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2013

For Information Contact:
Jennifer Yarber, Interim Director