Raising the Age in Michigan

Starting October 2021, 18 will be the minimum age in Michigan for prosecutions in the adult criminal court system.  Michigan now joins the strong majority of states who set their minimum age at 18 years old. The bipartisan bill passed both the house and the senate before being signed by Governor Whitmore (D).  The bill’s sponsors were clear: “Why are we calling them a child for child support services, but an adult for criminal purposes? Kinda doesn’t make sense,” said Republican Senator Peter Lucido (R-Shelby Township) .  His Democratic cohort agreed and pointed out the the money was better spent in education and wraparound services to help in prevention: “That’s the forefront of what we need to do is educate individuals, not lock them up and throw away the key.”

Earlier this year, Louisiana implemented their 2016 policy of keeping 17 year olds accused of non-violent crimes in youth system.  “17-year-olds are children. We define them as children in almost every other way in the law, and I think most parents would tell you their 17-year-olds are definitely still kids,” Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights policy director Rachel Gassert said. “They aren’t allowed to vote, buy cigarettes, or enlist in the military. We draw the line at 18 for so many other things that it doesn’t make sense for them to be automatically treated as adults in the justice system.”

To learn more about each state’s age limits and other critical components regarding their systems, visit https://njdc.info/practice-policy-resources/state-profiles/

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