For Immediate Release
March 7, 2019
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing today on the Raise the Age legislative package to change the age of juvenile jurisdiction. It can be attributed to Kids Count Director Alicia Guevara Warren, who also submitted written testimony to the committee today.
“Michigan is one of the last states in the country that still automatically prosecutes 17-year-olds as adults, denying Michigan’s youth opportunities and putting their health and safety at risk. This legislative change will rightfully eliminate this outdated law and start treating 17-year-olds like the kids they still are, offering age-appropriate treatment, services and education wherever possible. After two sessions of diligent effort and incremental progress, it appears that Raise the Age might have reached the tipping point where enough policymakers know our kids cannot and should not have to wait any longer for this common-sense change and treatment that meets their needs and fits their offenses.
“We have had the data. We have had the heart-wrenching stories from justice-involved youth and their parents. We have had the moral pleas from the faith-based community. And we have had the real, pragmatic insights from law enforcement, social workers, judges and attorneys. The only thing that has been holding this up has been the money, and we applaud lawmakers from both parties and both legislative bodies for recognizing that the cost for our kids, our communities and our economy is far worse than any fiscal one. We are grateful for Committee Chair Pete Lucido and Sen. Sylvia Santana’s leadership on this issue, and for all of the bill sponsors in both the House and Senate for forging ahead on Raise the Age with the urgency it deserves.”
Raise the Age is a key issue for the Michigan League for Public Policy and its Kids Count in Michigan Project. It is a policy recommendation in the League’s Owner’s Manual for Michigan policy agenda. The League has put together a fact sheet on the benefits of raising the age. There’s also a fact sheet on overwhelmingly positive polling information on the issue from last year and a variety of other resources from the Raise the Age campaign. The League continues to look for and lift up the personal stories of people and parents who have been adversely affected by Michigan’s current treatment of 17-year-olds in the justice system.
About the Kids Count in Michigan Project
The Kids Count in Michigan project is part of a broad national effort to measure the well-being of children at the state and local levels, and use that information to shape efforts to improve the lives of children. The state project is part of a nationwide network of state projects supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation of Baltimore, MD. Funding for the Michigan project is also provided by The Skillman Foundation, The Max M. and Marjorie S. Fisher Foundation, Steelcase Foundation, Michigan Education Association, American Federation of Teachers Michigan, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, United Way for Southeastern Michigan, DTE Energy Foundation, Ford Motor Company Fund, Battle Creek Community Foundation and the Ruth Mott Foundation.
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.