Legislation is currently proposed in the Michigan House that would raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18, rather than 17. Michigan Catholic Conference Vice President for Advocacy Tom Hickson tells us 17-year-olds are still developing and more inclined to risky, impulsive behaviors. He say it’s not right to treat them like adults in the justice system.
“They maybe have a mistake they’ve done, certainly not something to be taken lightly but we want to throw away their life away for good because of some mistake they might have done at age 17. In most cases, it’s more appropriate to treat 17-year-olds and send them to the juvenile system.”
Hickson says 17-year-olds could access age-appropriate rehabilitative services in the juvenile system that can help them turn their lives around. He also notes raising the age would save taxpayers money in the long run. It’s estimated tyouth prosecuted as adults are 34% more likely to re-offend than those in the juvenile justice system.