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Sunday 22nd of September 2019

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Michigan Raise The Age Law on Track to Pass, Leaving Three States with Juvenile Age Under 18

Wednesday 5th of June 2019 | North America, United States
The Chronicle of Social Change
News

The number of states with a juvenile justice age below 18 stands at four, down from 14 states a decade ago.

By the end of this legislative season, another one is likely to bite the dust. Advocates expect Michigan to pass a law that would raise the age (RTA) of jurisdiction from 17 to 18, effective October 2021.

“We are pretty confident that RTA will pass this session,” said Jason Smith, director of youth justice policy at the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency (MCCD). “A strong bipartisan desire for criminal justice reform exists in the legislature and the Governor’s office, and RTA is viewed by many as a common-sense reform that increases public safety and improves the life outcomes of Michigan’s youth.”

The “raise the age” movement in Michigan gained a lot of momentum last year, with a bill introduced in the House that passed out of the Law and Justice Committee. But because the committees in charge spent so much time addressing the horrifying sex abuse scandal at Michigan State, time ran out before anything could be voted on by a full chamber.

This year, the effort was pared down, with raise the age bills introduced in isolation – last year, they were paired up with other items on the juvenile advocacy wish list, including changes to the list of waiver offenses and use of solitary confinement with young offenders.

The legislation moved quickly through both chambers, and now await a conference to work out the differences. There are really only two big ones: how the funding will work, and which government branch will handle it. In both scenarios, the state will fund the shift thanks to what’s known as the Headlee Amendment, a Michigan rule that prevents the state from foisting unfunded mandates onto its 83 counties.

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  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Mercelis, nº 50. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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