Should juvenile offenders serve time in adult prison?

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana judges are using a change in state laws to keep juvenile offenders sentenced as adults out of adult prisons.

Paul Gingerich was only 12 when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and he is believed to be the youngest person in Indiana ever sentenced to prison as an adult. Now at age16, he's in a juvenile detention facility, but has since become the de facto face of children sentenced to serve time in adult prisons.

Attorney Monica Foster represented Gingerich's case.

"When we're sending children, babies in some instances, to adult prison, what we're really doing is saying they're throw-away kids; that there's nothing we can do to help them," Foster said.

In 2011, 53 Indiana juveniles were serving time in adult prisons.

The Head of Youth Services for the Indiana Department of Correction said that juveniles don't belong in adult prisons and the state has moved to try to keep them out of the system.

'It gives them the leeway to send kids to juvenile facilities where they're at or least not rubbing elbows with hardened adult criminals," Foster

In many cases, children that commit heinous crimes are given a second chance to avoid spending their early lives in adult prisons.
 

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