Four state senators held a press conference Wednesday about a proposed bill that would change the entire juvenile justice system. LB 562 would move the punitive-based system into one that would focus on treatment and rehabilitation.
The bill also deals with changes in juvenile probation, arrests, fingerprinting and the sealing of criminal records.
If passed into law, a new Juvenile Assistance Office would replace the current system of juvenile detention centers by 2015.
$10 million would be invested in a new community-based system that would attempt to keep children from becoming wards of the state.
State Senator Amanda McGill of Lincoln introduced a related bill that deals with juvenile mental health. McGill said early detection and the treatment of mental illness is a vital part of child development.