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Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction

Tuesday, January 28, 2020  
Posted by: Jamie Klufts
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Take Action to Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction


Sadly, Massachusetts spends the most money on young adults in the justice system and gets the worst outcomes. Gradually raising the age of juveniles to include 18-to 20-years old would allow young people to stay in school and participate in rehabilitative programming, ultimately lowering rates of recidivism, or the tendency to re-offend. This is why we are asking you to take action to support Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction (SB825/HB3420).
As many social workers can attest, the young adult brain is still developing at 18 to 20, making young people highly amenable to rehabilitation. This development is influenced both positively and negatively by their environment. Exposure to toxic and often dangerous environments, such as adult jails and prisons, entrenches young people in problematic behaviors, increasing probability of recidivism. Instead of taking an overly punitive approach, Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction will help to provide the resources and support justice-involved young people need to lead healthy and productive lives.
In 2013, Massachusetts policymakers ended the practice of automatically prosecuting 17-year-olds as adults. Since then, juvenile crime has declined by nearly 40%, and has seen faster declines in violent and property crime rates than the national average. With juvenile crime at historic lows, the juvenile court system and Department of Youth Services (DYS)
has the capacity to absorb 18- to 20-year-olds.
For more information on Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction, an NASW-MA priority bill, visit Raise the Age MA or contact Noël Schutz , NASW-MA's Membership and Advocacy Manager.



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