Push Continues in Texas to "Raise the Age" for Juvenile Offenders
Friday, July 9, 2021
AUSTIN, Texas -- Texas is one of only three states to automatically treat 17-year-olds as adults when they are arrested, and the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition said that can often lead to a lifetime of involvement with the justice system.
Since 2007, advocates to "Raise the Age" have encouraged state policymakers to change laws, so teens can go through the juvenile justice system instead.
Alycia Castillo, policy analyst for the Coalition, said in Texas, most 17-year-olds don't get rehabilitation services when they go into the adult system, because treatment can only be accessed by those 18 and older.
"So, we just have this huge gap," Castillo explained. "If you're a 17-year-old, and you are caught committing a crime, it's just a black hole of a lack of resources. But also, they're stuck with this adult record that follows them wherever they go."
A new report from The Sentencing Project looked at 11 states that have raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18. It found the change contributed to diverting more than 100,000 young adults into the juvenile system.
Many Texas lawmakers have argued raising the age would require building more detention facilities.
Marcy Mistrett, senior fellow at The Sentencing Project and the report's author, said the theory has largely been proven false.
"States that raised the age overall did not need to build new facilities," Mistrett reported. "And even those that initially built extra were able to close them down after a couple years."
Georgia and Wisconsin are the only other states to automatically prosecute 17-year-olds as adults.
get more stories like this via email
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Climate activists are praising Gov. Gavin Newsom for signing a $15 billion climate action package Thursday, but argued he …
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- Some New Yorkers are voicing concerns about the creation of not one, but two draft maps for congressional, State Senate and …
LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan advocates for children and families are praising many of the investments in the 2022 state budget passed this week…
DES MOINES, Iowa -- There is strong public support in Iowa to enact a state law that criminalizes elder abuse, a topic also being discussed by law …
SALT LAKE CITY -- A researcher at the University of Utah said plans for generating renewable energy should include a power source right under our feet…
CHICAGO -- Advocates for immigrants and refugees in Illinois traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to push for a pathway to citizenship for up to …
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- Arkansas produces more rice than any other state, and a new grant will help farmers explore ways to transition the industry to …
BISMARCK, N.D. -- North Dakota lawmakers in charge of redistricting have approved a preliminary draft of new legislative boundaries, but voters' …