Proposed law would raise age of legal adulthood in Michigan
LANSING, Mich. - Lawmakers in Lansing have introduced legislation that would raise the age of legal adulthood in the state.
The plan has bipartisan support and aims to keep youth out of the adult criminal justice system. The lawmakers who introduced the proposed rule change say that the juvenile justice system would be the most effective way to deal with young offenders.
The law would establish 17-year-olds as minors in most instances.
“In my experience working in the legal profession for more than 30 years, in most cases, crimes committed by youth who are 17 and younger happened because they didn’t know better and made a dumb mistake,” said Senate
Judiciary and Public Safety Committee Chairman Lucido. “Of course, this does not mean that they shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions — they definitely should. But outside of violent criminal offenses, in most cases they certainly shouldn’t be treated as if they were an adult.”
The legislation would still allow for 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in violent criminal cases.
Michigan is one of four other states that currently prosecute 17-year-olds as adults. Other states that have enacted similar raise the age laws have seen a significant decrease in juvenile court referrals and recidivism.
Sens. Peter J. Lucido, R-Shelby Township, and Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit held a press conference Wednesday to announce the legislation.
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