Offenders ages 18, 19 and 20 would be prosecuted as juveniles instead of adults if a bill takes effect in Massachusetts.
What are the details?
Proponents of the bill testified before lawmakers on the Joint Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that people of the above ages do not have fully formed brains and cannot fully understand the impact of their actions. WBZ-TV reported.
“The adult brain, particularly the prefrontal cortex, is not fully developed until the age of 25. “This is important because it impacts a young person’s impulse control and self-regulation,” Attorney General Andrea Campbell, who testified in favor of the bill, told the broadcaster.
The recidivism rate – the rate at which offenders are rearrested and sent back to prison – is highest in the 18- to 20-year-old age group (76%), and this is another reason why people of this age enter the juvenile justice system should. Campbell said, according to WBZ.
More from the station:
Several states have considered similar proposals, but Vermont is the only state that has passed a law raising the age for juvenile offenders.
The data on the impact of such measures remains unclear.
According to the advocacy website Raisetheage.org, after Massachusetts first raised the age limit for juvenile offenders from 17 to 18 in 2013, juvenile crime fell 62%.
However, a 2022 study in the Journal of Criminology and Public Policy found that raising that age in Massachusetts “increased recidivism rates among affected 17-year-olds.”
While those opposed to raising the age limit for juveniles claim that punishments such as jail and prison sentences deter young people from criminal activity, Sana Fadel – deputy director of the advocacy group Citizens for Juvenile Justice – disagreed, according to WBZ.
“Sociological research has shown us that deterrence will not work with young people,” Fadel told the broadcaster.
Newton Police Chief John Carmichael – legislative liaison for the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association – added to WBZ that the criminal justice system is already working to keep youth out of prison.
“The criminal justice system in [and] in itself is not that punitive. [In] In many cases, an arrest or an indictment will occur, and in many cases this is the case nolle prossed, or they are released, or there is a suspended sentence. And the parole system here in Massachusetts, I think, works pretty well,” Carmichael noted to the station.
Mass lawmakers are considering raising the age of juveniles in courtYoutube
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