SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Here in San Francisco, there’s a growing debate over when a juvenile can be charged as an adult in criminal cases.
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins has made some changes to how the DA’s office decides juveniles 16 and 17 years old can be tried as an adult, and that has some youth advocates upset.
Earlier this month, Jenkins announced that the DA’s office would establish a juvenile review team. The team would review cases involving minors who are accused of murder, attempted murder, forcible sexual assault, kidnapping, torture and aggravated mayhem.
The team will then make a recommendation to the DA on whether the juvenile should be tried as an adult. Outside the DA’s office on Tuesday morning, a group of youth advocates called for the DA to not prosecute juveniles under any circumstances.
Lucero Herrera, from the Young Women Freedom Center, said at the rally, “It takes a village to raise a child, not incarceration, not charging a child as an adult and sending them into the cycle of incarceration. We must stop charging the youth and start investing in youth, redirect them to safe housing, invest in their leadership, redirect them to their future, redirect them to colleges, redirect them to opportunities. “
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The DA’s office has said that they do not take charging youths as adults lightly, adding, “DA Jenkins will not seek to try juvenile offenders as adults in vast majority of cases; cases involving heinous crimes will be reviewed by a new Juvenile Review Team who will consider all the facts and hear from the defense and victim’s family before making a recommendation to DA Jenkins.”