I found this article that explains how in October of 2019 Governor Gretchen Whither signed a bill that classifies 17-year-olds as minors in the criminal justice system. This law will take effect in October of 2021. Despite this new bill, 17-year-olds and other teens who commit crimes like murder or rape are still at risk of being prosecuted as adults. I found it really interesting that this bill was not already in place. I am not extremely familiar with the criminal justice system and the different breakdowns of ages but I assumed that anyone under the age of 18 was not considered an adult in the criminal justice system. To my surprise, the article explains how not all states in the U.S. classify 17-year-olds as minors in this system.
The article explains how this bill lacked support in the past due to financial concerns. The state and counties in Michigan split the cost of juvenile justice equally so voters were concerned about how this law would affect those costs. To gain support, the state agreed to cover any additional costs.
This law will also allow teenagers to be on a path of rehabilitation rather than punishment, which may help prevent a life of crime. I also think this law is important because youth should not be punished for these mistakes for their whole lives. Adult charges affect a person's life drastically as they have lifelong repercussions. 17-year-olds do not deserve to have these youthful crimes/mistakes haunt them for the rest of their lives. They deserve to have a chance to grow and rehabilitate.
What are your thoughts? Do you support this new law? Besides money, do you think anything else prevented this law from being enacted in the past? Are there any downsides to the law? Do you agree that teens should be at risk of being prosecuted as adults if they commit a crime like rape or murder?