Michigan Youth Remain Trapped in Outdated Policy; Legislative Action to “Raise the Age” Key to Smart
Lansing, Mich. — The Raise the Age (RTA) coalition issued the following statements today after learning that the Michigan Legislature would adjourn the 2017-18 session without acting on the bipartisan package to ‘raise the age’ and allow 17-year-olds to access and receive services in the juvenile justice system:
“While we are deeply disappointed this critical legislation was left behind the finish line this year, we are heartened by the strong and widespread commitment to address this need in 2019,” said Jason Smith, Youth Justice Policy Director for the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency. “It’s imperative that the Legislature act to help Michigan’s justice-involved youth sooner rather than later.”
“Our charge for the New Year is clear, knowing that 83 percent of Michiganders back this common-sense policy change,” said Tom Hickson, Vice President for Public Policy and Advocacy of the Michigan Catholic Conference. “This bipartisan package of bills can and will make a meaningful difference in preventing harmful, lasting effects on our at-risk youth while enhancing public safety.”
"We are certainly disappointed in this outcome, but the fight will continue until this is done. Through real-life experiences and real-world examples, we blended data, emotion and common sense to make the case for Raise the Age. We addressed every argument and compromised wherever possible," said Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan Project Director for the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Unfortunately, Michigan kids and their families will have to wait yet again for justice. We hope this will be a top priority for incoming leaders and that Raise the Age is a prime opportunity for new and returning elected officials, regardless of party, to start the next session off on a note of bipartisan cooperation and reason."
The trio also gave a big thank you to all bill sponsors – especially Law and Justice Committee Chair Klint Kesto, and Reps. Pete Lucido, Martin Howrylak, and Stephanie Chang for their hard work and leadership working across the aisle and with all stakeholders over the last two years – and to all those who took the time to tell their stories and help in this effort.
They also recognized RTA’s diverse supporters from across the political spectrum, geographic locations and sectors, including Americans for Prosperity-Michigan, the Detroit Regional Chamber and Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, and many more.