Raise the Age MI:

Statement of Principles



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





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 on 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 re-offend, 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.




List of Organizational Endorsers


  1. Access of West Michigan

  2. ACLU of Michigan

  3. Alkebu-Lan Village

  4. American Friends Service Committee

  5. American Friends Service Committee Michigan Criminal Justice Program

  6. Association for Children's Mental Health

  7. BooksForGirls!

  8. Campaign for Youth Justice

  9. Child Abuse Prevent Council of Shiawassee County

  10. Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending

  11. Citizens for Prisoner Reform

  12. Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance

  13. Damascus Holy Life Baptist Church

  14. Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation

  15. Families on the Move Inc.

  16. Famliy Participation Program

  17. Fish Films, LLC

  18. Gamaliel of Michigan 

  19. Grand Rapids Urban League 

  20. Growth Works Inc.

  21. Heartside Ministry

  22. Helping All People Excel

  23. Highfields, Inc.

  24. Holy Cross Children's Services

  25. Home of New Vision

  26. Humanity for Prisoners


  28. Innovation for Good

  29. Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice

  30. Ionia Juvenile Court

  31. Justice for Families

  32. Justice Policy Institute

  33. Juvenile Assessment Center

  34. Juvenile Justice Coalition

  35. Juvenile Law Center

  36. Literacy Center of West Michigan

  37. LUCK Inc.

  38. Luster Brothers Home Improvements

  39. M.A.D.E. Institute

  40. Medal of Honor Consulting

  41. Mentor2Youth Inc.

  42. MI United

  43. MI-CURE

  44. Michigan Children's Law Center

  45. Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency

  46. Michigan County Social Services Association

  47. Michigan Faith in Action

  48. Michigan Juvenile Detention Association 

  49. Michigan League for Public Policy 

  50. Michigan's Children

  51. NASW of Michigan  

  52. Nation Outside

  53. National Association Of Social Workers- Michigan

  54. National Juvenile Justice Network

  55. National Partnership for Juvenile Services

  56. One Love Global

  57. Ozone House

  58. Partners for a Racism Free Community (PRFC)

  59. Postsecondary Alliance for Student Success

  60. PrisonWriters.com 

  61. Prof. Probation & Parole Consulting, Inc

  62. Restorative Justice Coalition of Western Michigan

  63. Ruth Ellis Center

  64. Saginaw County DHS

  65. Second Chances 4 Youth

  66. Sisters Home Visit of Mary

  67. Social Action Unitarian Univ. Church of Greater Lansing

  68. Social Justice League 

  69. Southeast MI Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

  70. Spectrum Juvenile Justice Services

  71. Staircase Youth Services Inc.

  72. Student Advocacy Center of Michigan

  73. T-Ella Creations

  74. Teen HYPE

  75. The Center for Children's Law and Policy

  76. The Guidance Center

  77. The Micah Center 

  78. The Sentencing Project

  79. Thomas Law & Consulting Group, PLC

  80. True North Community Services

  81. U.P. Kids

  82. United For Better Health Network

  83. Veda A. Sharp and Associates, LLC.

  84. Vip Mentoring

  85. Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights

  86. Washtenaw Intermediate School District Board of Education

  87. Wedgwood Christian Services

  88. Wolverine Human Services

  89. Woodside Church, Flint MI