LANSING — The House Judiciary Committee voted to approve House Bills 4133-4146 and 4443 to raise the threshold age for automatic prosecution as an adult from seventeen to eighteen. Michigan is one of the only states left in the country that still automatically charges seventeen-year-olds as adults. In response, state Rep. Leslie Love (D-Detroit), whose HB 4143 was part of the 14 bill package, issued the following statement:

“Here in Michigan, we treat 18 as the age you become an adult for almost all circumstances except for criminal prosecution. As we look to right past wrongs by reforming our criminal justice system as a whole, getting Michigan in line with most of the rest of the country serves as a critical first step. By raising the age, Michigan’s justice system will finally acknowledge what volumes of research has shown: in a majority of cases, treating children as children produces better outcomes for justice involved youth; and that means better outcomes for communities, our state, and Michigan families. Those tried and treated in juvenile courts are less likely to re-offend than those tried in adult courts because our juvenile courts are designed to deal with the root issues that can often lead to crime. I am happy to see this package move forward because youth who get caught up in the criminal justice system don’t stop being children, but hopefully, this will stop or reduce youth recidivism. While their behavior has to be addressed, we should do so with the understanding that they are our future and a vital part of our communities.”