10/30/17 – State Representative Mark Born says he will be introducing a bill that would keep non-violent 17-year-olds out of the adult criminal justice system. The plan was to include it in the state budget but Born says they were unable to because of its price tag. During a recent appearance on WBEV’s Community Comment, the Republican from Beaver Dam explained what the state statue would entail. He says the plan is to return non-violent 17-year-old offenders back to the juvenile justice system. Born says that it is a much better place for those who commit misdemeanor level criminal acts. He says it is part of a national movement with other states having similar policies. The biggest sticking point has been the financial aspect of the bill. He says the state pays for their incarceration and treatment in the prison system. In the juvenile system there is a combination of state money and county money. Questions have been raised at the county-level about an unfunded mandate if they take on additional youth into their system. Born says as the negotiations have progressed the price of how much it will cost has gone down. He says the state is looking at funding roughly a few million dollars of the program while keeping a few million in reserve to keep the counties comfortable. There is over $500-million dollars in surplus from the previous budget which Born says could help fund the bill.