Raising the age for juvenile offenders
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - On Wednesday, Michigan Senators introduced a bipartisan plan to raise the age of legal adulthood from 17 years old to 18.
Currently, 17-year-olds can be prosecuted as adults, however, this new proposal would consider 17-year-olds as juveniles in most criminal offenses.
This change would give juveniles a second chance at life in some eyes, and instead of going through the adult justice system they would go through the juvenile justice system.
But, any 17-year-olds convicted of violent criminal offenses will still be charged as adults.
Michigan is one of four remaining states that treat 17-year-olds as adults.
States with similar raise-the-age laws have seen a significant decrease in juvenile court referrals.
Lawmakers are strongly pushing for this new law and say it can only benefit the state.
"Raising the age is just the best step and the best direction for the state," Senator Pete Lucido (R) of Shelby Township said. "We all talk about criminal justice reforms - today we're done talking."
A similar bill was introduced two years ago but failed because it didn't include a funding mechanism.
The new proposal suggests a reimbursement aspect that would give the money back to the counties if their juvenile cases cost them more with this new bill.