• Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

Raise the Age Statement of Principles

The following is a Statement of Principles to Raise the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction to 18.

You can endorse the statement of principles by clicking here. Please encourage other interested persons/groups to sign on as well.

WHEREAS: 1. Children are our most vital and valuable resource and investing in each of them is investing in our collective future; and

2. Research should inform policy and practices; and

3. Youth are developmentally different from adults and these differences are documented by research on the adolescent brain and acknowledged by many state and federal laws that treat youth disparately based upon their age and stage of development; and

4. Mistakes often associated with normative adolescent behavior should not determine a youth’s outcome in life; and

5. The Michigan adult criminal justice system is not structured to handle the developmental, educational or social needs of children; and

6. Most youth in the Michigan adult criminal justice system are there for non-violent offenses; and

7. Research demonstrates that convicting and sentencing youth in the adult criminal justice system increases rather than decreases the likelihood they will reoffend, as compared with youth served in the juvenile system; and

8. Youth in adult prisons face extreme risk of violence, sexual assault, and self-harm; and

9. The juvenile justice system provides the developmentally-appropriate programs, services, monitoring, and sanctions that can help parents nurture and guide young people as they grow into productive adult citizens; then

We believe Michigan’s policy-makers, communities, advocates and government systems should work to: I. Raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18, which would impact 95% of the children being convicted and sentenced as adults, and align Michigan with 41 other states, federal standards, and U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

II. Remove all youth under age 18 from adult jails and prisons and provide access to developmentally appropriate, rehabilitative services available in Michigan’s youth-serving community-based programs, and juvenile facilities (when out of home placement is necessary). III. Continue to build a juvenile justice system that offers age-appropriate treatment and services, therapy, education, job skills training, and further enhance the system to support and promote evidence-based programs.

IV. Fully fund effective community-based programs that support court-involved youth and their families.

Endorse the statement of principles by clicking here. Please encourage other interested persons/groups to sign on as well.

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