LANSING, Mich. — A bipartisan plan to raise the age of legal adulthood within the state’s court system, establishing 17-year-olds as minors in most cases, was signed into law by the governor on Thursday.
“This is a proud moment for me and all who have worked so hard over the years to get the Raise the Age plan passed, and it is especially great news for our state’s youth,” said Sen. Peter J. Lucido, R-Shelby Township, who sponsored Senate Bills 90, 100 and 101 in the package. “Finally, Michigan’s criminal justice system will treat 17-year-olds like the adolescents they are, which will provide them the opportunity to learn from their youthful mistakes and a better chance at becoming productive members of society as adults.
“I am thankful for all who supported Raise the Age and for Governor Whitmer, who signed our plan into law.”
Raise the Age amends or adds to various parts of the state’s Probate Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Juvenile Diversion Act, the Youth Rehabilitation Act, the Mental Health Code and the Indigent Defense Commission Act to formally recognize that a 17-year-old should be considered a juvenile for purposes of adjudication or prosecution of criminal offenses. The reforms allow for 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in violent criminal offenses.
Michigan now joins 46 other states in prosecuting 17-year-olds as youths. Statistics show that states with similar raise-the-age laws have experienced a significant decrease in juvenile court referrals and recidivism.