Two weeks ago, 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 six 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. In North Carolina, bipartisan raise the age legislation has garnered support from the Democratic governor and law enforcement groups.
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?