Whitmer signs bills to treat 17-year-olds as juveniles

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at an event on Sept. 11, 2019 in Grand Rapids, Mich.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed legislation to raise the age of which offenders are treated as adults in the criminal justice system, from 17 to 18 years old.

The move Thursday means Michigan will no longer be among just four states to consider 17-year-olds as adults. The change will take effect in two years.

Supporters of the bills say putting 17-years-olds in the adult system can harm them for life, affecting their ability to get a job and making it more likely they will re-offend.

Prosecutors could still try 17-year-olds as adults for violent offenses such as murder.

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist says “raising the age” in Michigan will substantially lower the number of youth being charged as adults across the country, from 76,000 down to 40,000.

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7 comments

  • Matt

    This a good change. Reforming jail and not branding them immediately as adults will help keeping them from turning into repeat offenders. We need more ways to stop this revovling door that keeps people going back to jail for the rest of their lives.
    Barriers like these have been shown to hurt the poorest people the most. Anything done to prevent a carreer criminal path is a plus.
    If we spent the money on reform programs that provide working skills instead of locking them up it has a greater chance of preventing them from getting into that revolving door of a criminal life. Studies have proven this time and time again you can find these on CATO’S site

    • steve

      Barriers like these hurt the poorest people the most? How? Don’t confuse the fact that some people commit more crime , more often with some kind of bias. There are more avenues to get out of poverty today than ever. They just need to go through the open door.

  • stop the madness

    If a teen commits a crime consistent with the actions of any other adult, then how on earth can this be an absolute rule for the courts to abide by. What kind of nonsense is this. Who in their right mind voted for her anyway.

  • lml25

    Next,Whitmer will propose either 3 free felonies for blacks or just treat blacks of ALL ages as juveniles.When that happens–and the Dems basically decide that minorities aren’t responsible for their actions (meaning no more prison for them),I’ll make sure I get arrested,so I can go to the new all white prisons and relax for a few years.

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