Raise the Age MI was a grassroots effort lead by Michigan communities, advocates, and lawmakers who all believe that automatically prosecuting 17-year-olds as adults is unfair, expensive, and harmful to our youth. Thanks to these efforts, Raise the Age has passed in Michigan.
In the past decade, over 20,000 youth have had some kind interaction with the adult justice system and ended up on adult probation, in jail, or in prison. There are numerous ways for a young person in conflict with the law to be charged as an adult--but in Michigan, the most common way is to simply turn 17.
About two-thirds of these 17-year-olds were convicted of non-violent offenses that did not include weapons. Far more youth of color are disproportionately affected by this law.
Moreover, there is no evidence that prosecuting 17-year-olds in the adult system shows any rehabilitative advantage. Many have suffered severe mental and physical damage from the violence and sexual abuse they have endured while in the adult prison system.
Incarcerating kids in the adult prison system is expensive. It costs upwards of $34,000 a year to incarcerate someone, and the costs continue onward after that. After exiting the prison system, youth have an adult criminal record that haunts them the rest of their life. This limits them from finding housing, getting a job, and leading a productive life after prison. It inevitably stunts Michigan's economic and social development. Raise the Age will help remedy this.
Join us in thanking Michigan for raising the age!