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  Families and Friends Organizing for Reform of Juvenile Justice or FORJ-MO is the first parent lead juvenile justice organization in Missouri working to change the laws that turn our children into adults, with horrific outcomes, once they enter the adult criminal justice system.  

Owen Welty

Owen Welty was 13 when he was arrested for the shooting death of his neighbor in rural southeastern Missouri. He was immediately certified as an adult and housed for 26 months in multiple adult jails across Missouri awaiting his trial. During this time, at the age of 13, he was maced and tazed to the point that his body no longer reacted to it. Keep in mind he had not gone to trial yet, he was only accused. 

When Owen was 15, Two and half years after his arrest and incarceration, he finally went to trial in St Louis County and was acquitted, yes, he was found innocent! While incarcerated, he fell three grades behind classmates as tutoring and schooling are not an option in Missouri’s adult jail system. Owen was unable to re-enter the public school system in Missouri due to his jail time, even though he was found innocent. He was forced to move to Arkansas to finish High School.  During that time he struggled to catch up academically and to overcome flashbacks of his time in Jail.  

Owen Welty is 22 today and a successful truck driver.  He often comes and testifies trying to stop this from happening to other kids.

Do you have a story you wish to share?  Please let us know!


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