• Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

Our view: Age change gives young offenders a better shot at rehabilitation

When does a child officially graduate into adulthood?

This is a loaded question with many answers. Is it high school graduation? Is it a certain birthday? Is it ceremonial, such as a religious ceremony or an important milestone? Is it moving out of the parents’ home?

There is no one good answer in a broad sense, but in a legal sense, it happens at a few different ages in Michigan.

A citizen cannot vote or be drafted until the age of 18. However, at 17, alleged criminals are automatically tried as adults. Michigan is one of nine states to have a threshold of 17.

That could change after a bipartisan push to raise Michigan’s age for adult offenders from 17 to 18 received a major lift in the Legislature. The Republican-controlled House approved a 20-bill package on Wednesday and Thursday; every bill won support from at least 90 members of the 110-seat chamber.

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