by Chad Campbell - senior producer
Tracy McClard fights for changes to the juvenile justice system in the memory of her son. In January 2008, Jonathan hung himself as he awaited transfer to a maximum security adult prison. He’d just celebrated Christmas and then his 17th birthday a few days earlier while in solitary confinement. In July 2007, Jonathan shot another teenaged boy in an argument over a former girlfriend. Tracy McClard does not dispute her son’s guilt, but believes that he never should have been tried, convicted and sentenced as an adult. For pleading guilty to first degree assault, the judge gave Jonathan the maximum sentence of 30 years. The Department of Justice estimates that every year in the US there are roughly 250,000 youth offenders treated as adults. McClard worked to get “Jonathan’s Law” passed in Missouri which provides new guidelines for sentencing juveniles. You can learn more about McClard’s work at these websites.