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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Oct. 6, 201112:00 PM EST

Legislature revisits juvenile crime policies

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Two years after the Legislature softened Florida’s zero-tolerance law in schools to prevent students from being sent to juvenile justice facilities for minor offenses, lawmakers are eager to take a second crack at juvenile justice reforms.

Driving the push is Sen. Stephen Wise (R-Jacksonville), the chair of the Senate’s education committee.

Wise is using his clout to home in on juvenile justice issues, holding hearings on the topic in preparation for a reform bill likely coming out the first week of November.

“We are concerned about what we do to our young people, so we don’t disenfranchise them for the rest of their lives over something silly,” he said.

On Wednesday, his committee heard testimony from juvenile justice reform advocates and the Department of Juvenile Justice. The Senate Criminal Justice Committee on Tuesday held a similar hearing.

He joins groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP and TaxWatch in his effort to prevent more kids from ever reaching juvenile justice facilities, where statistics show they are more likely to become repeat offenders.

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