A juvenile justice task force recommendation for a study on the facilities that house youthful offenders won't be heard in the legislature this year--that's after a House committee failed to hear the measure for the study.
The measure, House Bill 2915, was authored by Rep. Danny Morgan, D-Prague and Sen. Nancy Riley, R-Tulsa. Riley said there are three state-run juvenile facilities, including the Rader Center in Sand Springs which is in her district.
"At Rader, youths who have committed minor offenses are housed with teens who have committed rape and murder," Riley said. "We know it’s a dangerous situation for the kids and for the state employees who work there. That's why the Youthful Offender Task Force recommended a study of this issue. House Bill 2915 would have provided the $15,000 needed to do that."
Riley had authored the legislation creating the task force. It was a six-month-long study that met every other week with 13 members appointed by the Governor to examine issues related to juvenile justice. Riley said that Rep. Chris Benge, who chairs the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, has given no explanation as to why HB 2915 was not heard.
"This measure had bi-partisan support. In a year when
we have additional money available, it is difficult to understand why
the House would refuse to give this bill a hearing," said Riley.