Study Details Benefits to Missouri of “Raise the Age”

"Over the past two years, four states have “Raised the Age” of criminal court jurisdiction to 18 – Louisiana and South Carolina in 2016, and New York and North Carolina earlier this year. While these recently passed laws have yet to go into effect, there are only five states that still charge all 17 year olds as adults no matter how minor the offense. Missouri, which has had a reputation for being a leader in juvenile justice because of its “Missouri model” of youth detention facilities, is one of those five states."

The full article is available here.

What is the potential economic impact of Raise the Age Legislation?


"Dr. David Mitchell, professor of economics and director of the Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University, conducted a study to determine the economic costs and benefits of the proposed Raise the Age Legislation in Missouri.

The Show Me State is one of five states where 17-year-olds are automatically treated as adults in the criminal justice system, along with Georgia, Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin. However, a recently introduced legislation aims at raising the age to 18 in Missouri.

Dr. Mitchell’s study found that the state would benefit from significant savings. He concludes in the study that reduced recidivism and increased employment and wages for 17-year-olds who remain in the juvenile justice system, would result in long-term tax benefits that eclipse the initial costs of serving 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system."

The full article is available here.

Study: Raise the Age, Lower the Cost of Juvenile Offenders

"Missouri is one of five states where 17-year-olds are automatically treated as adults in the criminal justice system, along with Georgia, Texas, Michigan and Wisconsin. 

However, a recently introduced legislation aims at raising the age to 18 in the Show Me State.

A panel was held at Missouri State University Tuesday afternoon where a legislator, experts, and a father spoke in favor of this change."

The full article is available here.

Join Us On Dec. 5 for 18 in 18: Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction in Missouri

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18 in 2018: Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction in Missouri

DATE: Tuesday, December 5, 2017
TIME: 4:30pm-6pm
LOCATION: Plaster Student Union Theater | 1110 E. Madison St. Springfield, MO

SPRINGFIELD – Missouri is one of only five states in the country that automatically treats all 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, which has not passed a law to raise the age to 18 in the near future. In 2015, 93% of 17-year-olds were arrested in Missouri for nonviolent or misdemeanor offenses. While prosecutors treat their peers in other states as juveniles for these offenses, teens in Missouri receive adult convictions, adult records, and time in adult jails. The Missouri State University Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the Campaign for Youth Justice are co-hosting an event at Missouri State University to raise awareness about Missouri’s lower age of criminal responsibility and its economic, public safety, and human impact on youth, their communities, and the state as a whole. This event will feature a poetry reading, panel discussion, and audience question and answer period to discuss legislative efforts to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18 in 2018.

Featured Panelists:
Mae Quinn, Esq
. Director of the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center, St. LouisDr. David Mitchell, Professor, Economics and Director of Bureau of Economic Research at Missouri State University
Brant Cunningham, Father of a 17-year-old incarcerated as an adult
Representative Nick Schroer

Featured Poets/Artists:
Members of Missouri State University’s Untamed Tongues. (Link)

To RSVP to this event, please visit here. 

For more information about the Missouri State Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice visit:

Missouri Can't Be Last!

On April 20, 2017, New York state passed legislation raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction.  Starting October 1, 2019, children younger than 18 will be included in New York's juvenile justice system -- not pushed prematurely into adult jails, courts, and prisons.

Now, there are only five states left that prosecute all 17-year-olds as adults.  And Missouri is one of them.

In the other states that haven't yet raised the age, there's real momentum for change.  On April 20, Texas' House of Representatives passed raise the age legislation. 

Missouri, whose juvenile justice system once led the nation, has a chance this year to join the near-unanimous trend of states who know that raising the age improve public safety, saves money, and keeps kids safe.  House Bill 274, Missouri's Raise the Age bill, was overwhelmingly supported in committee, and the fight now moves to the House floor as the legislative session draws to a close.  

Will we do the right thing?  Or will we be the last in the nation to take a common-sense step towards safety and justice?

Missouri Juvenile Corrections Expert Calls for Raising the Age

Nobody in Missouri -- maybe nobody in the country -- knows how to run a safe and cost-effective juvenile justice system better than Mark Steward.  And Mark Steward wants to raise the age.

Raising the age means including 17-year-olds in juvenile court instead of automatically prosecuting every arrested 17-year-old as an adult.  

For 17 years, Mark was the head of Missouri's Division of Youth Services -- the state agency that runs Missouri's juvenile justice facilities.  Under his leadership, DYS became nationally-known for innovative programs that reduce re-offending.  Now, Mark is the director of the Missouri Youth Services Institute, a nonprofit consulting firm that provides advice and technical assistance to juvenile justice systems across the country.  He's a seasoned expert who understands what it takes to operate a juvenile prison and improve public safety while turning children's lives around.  

Now, in a story by the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, Mark is urging legislators to raise the age.  He says: "[T]he benefits are so overwhelmingly good and proven that if they approve this, there’d never be a moment of doubt that they made the right decision."

The story looks at how Texas and Missouri -- two of just five holdout states  -- are working towards raising the age in their current legislative sessions.  45 states, including all the states that borders Missouri, have improved public safety and spent taxpayer money responsibly by including 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system.  

There's a national consensus that raising the age is the right thing to do -- and Mark Steward, Missouri's foremost juvenile corrections expert, thinks Missouri should get with the program: "At this point," he says, "I think it’s pretty universally accepted that the best place for a 17-year-old is not to be in an adult system."

Read the full story here.

National Report Shows How Missouri Can Raise the Age to Curb Crime & Cut Costs

On March 7, the Justice Policy Institute released a report that looks at 10 years of data to show how states across the country have raised the age -- including 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system -- while reducing crime and saving taxpayer money.

Just last year, Louisiana and South Carolina raised the age.  Now, Missouri is one of only five states that automatically send every 17-year-old to criminal court, even for the most minor offenses.  

In 2017, the Missouri legislature is considering House Bill 274 and Senate Bill 40, which would bring most 17-year-olds into the juvenile justice system while still allowing the most serious offenders to be prosecuted in criminal court.

The report shows that states have consistently overestimated the costs and underestimated the savings that come from raising the age.  For instance: Connecticut raised the age from 16 to 18, and now actually spends LESS on juvenile justice than it did before raising the age.  

Raising the age is a good investment because holding 17-year-olds accountable in juvenile court ensures that they get the services and supports they need to turn their lives around. And kids who finish school and get good jobs stop committing crimes, which builds the economy and saves taxpayer money.

The full report is here.

The executive summary is here.

Raise the Age at the House of Representatives on 2/28!

HB 274, the Raise the Age bill in the House of Representatives, will be heard at 5 pm on 2/28 in the House Judiciary Committee at the Capitol in Jefferson City.  The hearing will be in House Hearing Room 1.

Please join us at the committee hearing!  It's important for everyone to stand up,  be counted, and show your support for common-sense justice reform that will curb crime, keep kids and communities safe, and save money!

If you have questions about where to go, or what to do when you get there, email us and we'll be happy to help!