Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Thursday signed “Raise the Age” legislation that increased the age a person can be charged with a crime as an adult from 17 years old to 18 years old. A stipulation in the bill allows for 17-year-olds who are charged with crimes like rape or murder to be tried as adults.
“Today I signed the bipartisan “Raise the Age” legislative package, which raises the age of who is considered an adult under the criminal justice system from 17 to 18 years old. I’m proud that we’re ending the unjust practice of charging & punishing our children as adults,” the governor said.
Today I signed the bipartisan “Raise the Age” legislative package, which raises the age of who is considered an adult under the criminal justice system from 17 to 18 years old. I’m proud that we’re ending the unjust practice of charging & punishing our children as adults. pic.twitter.com/ZDXLHBXlps
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) October 31, 2019
Michigan joins 46 other states who treat 17-year-olds as juveniles rather than adults. The majority of Michigan legislators approved of the bill, but still had to address funding issues that arose. According to MLive, state counties were concerned about how they would pay for increased juvenile inmates; however, Michigan is going to reimburse counties for their costs.
The Detroit News reports that a non-partisan Michigan Senate Fiscal agency found if 17-year-olds are not tried as adults, it will move 7,564 cases to the juvenile system.
Michigan League for Public Policy CEO Gilda Z. Jacobs, who supports the bill and spoke alongside Whitmer at the press conference, believes this law change is long overdue and a “win” for Michigan kids.
“This is what a good compromise looks like, both in the substance of the policy and in the widespread and diverse support,” she said. “With a stroke of her pen today, the governor is taking better care of our youth and families and giving them a brighter future, benefiting our communities and economy in the process.”
Now, only three remaining states who try 17-year-olds as adults: Georgia, Texas and Wisconsin.
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