For Immediate Release
September 28, 2018
Bipartisan bill package would align Michigan with 46 other states in treating 17-year-olds as juveniles in justice system
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy continued its push to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to 17 years old with news today that the Michigan House of Representatives’ Law and Justice Committee will be holding a second committee hearing on the bills on Tuesday, Oct. 2. The hearing will begin at 8:30 a.m. in Room 327, Anderson House Office Building, 124 North Capitol Avenue, Lansing, MI 48933.
Concerned residents can contact the committee members and urge them to vote yes on these bills through the Raise the Age Action Page. The bipartisan bill package is still not expected to be voted out on Tuesday, but the continued discussion and thorough review of the issue shows that many legislators are very serious about getting this done.
Alicia Guevara Warren, Kids Count in Michigan project director at the Michigan League for Public Policy, joined a parade of diverse and passionate advocates to support raising the age at last week’s hearing. Guevara Warren submitted written testimony.
In it, she wrote: “As Kids Count director, it is my job to help be the voice for all kids in Michigan and use data and research to stand up for their needs and their well-being…Caring about kids includes caring about teenagers and young people who have made mistakes. We should be helping them get their lives back on track, not permanently derailing their promise and potential…Raise the age will change that, and will put our state in alignment with the nation in treating these kids as a valuable resource and an opportunity for redemption, not a threat.”
Other organizations that provided verbal or written testimony encouraging the passage of these bills were the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency, Safe & Just Michigan, the Michigan Catholic Conference, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Michigan’s Children, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and more. Many of these organizations’ written testimony can be found at the House Law & Justice Committee’s webpage under “Testimony” and “9/25/2018.”
In addition to the organizations present, the committee also heard from several faith leaders and community advocates. A young woman named Briana Moore from Oakland County also shared her personal story as a justice-involved 17-year-old, a story she first shared with the League in a blog she wrote last year, Raise the Age: We must stop treating kids as criminals.
“I wish that I could say I have recovered from my criminal history, but the fact is I have not. It follows me at every turn,” Moore wrote. “Will I always be paying for the mistakes I have made so many years ago?
“I do think about what would have happened if I had received juvenile intervention rather than being treated as an adult … I will speak out in hopes of preventing another child from asking those same questions. I believe that Raise the Age is the right path, and I hope that in sharing my story I can be of some help.”
Legislation to raise the age passed the full House of Representatives last legislative session, but withered on the vine in the Senate. The new bills must pass both the House and Senate before the end of session in December 2018 or the process will have to start all over again.
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.