City Councilman Alex Fiore has received the go-ahead from his fellow council members to work with local state legislators on a bill that would allow public release of the names of juvenile offenders.
Fiore said he hopes to get together with Assemblyman Nao Takasugi (R-Oxnard) and state Sen. Cathie Wright (R-Simi Valley) to draft legislation that would make juvenile offenders' names public if the juveniles were accused of "serious" crimes, including burglary, rape and murder.
"These are young people committing adult crimes, and I think in these serious cases, names should be made public," Fiore said.
A handful of states have begun to treat juvenile criminals more like adult felons.
Defenders of the current system say the juvenile justice system was designed to protect and rehabilitate children and that to release their names is to thwart the structure's whole purpose. Children, advocates say, should not be held to the same level of accountability as adults because they are not yet mature enough to be responsible for their actions.
Others, such as Fiore, citing rising juvenile crime statistics, argue that the old system is outdated and failing society. They say perhaps releasing juveniles' names will embarrass the youths into halting their criminal behavior. In any case, it would alert the community to dangerous children, they contend.
Officials at both Takasugi and Wright's offices said the legislators would be interested in discussing the idea with Fiore.