The Michigan Legislature has now passed bi-partisan legislation that will halt automatic prosecution of 17-year-olds as adults. Michigan is one of just four states still requiring all 17-year-olds to be prosecuted as adults, even those who committed minor offenses. State Representative Tommy Brann was one of the plan’s sponsors. He said, “This is about rehabilitating young people and getting their lives back on the right track so they’re less likely to reoffend in the future.”
The legislation will allow 17-year-olds to go through the juvenile system. Brann said, “The juvenile justice system has age-appropriate programs already in place that help rehabilitate young people, giving them access to the tools they need to become productive adults.” According to the Center for Disease Control, 17-year-olds in the juvenile system have been shown to reduce reoffending by 34 percent. Prosecutors will still have some discretion, as they can waive the rules for minors who commit violent crimes, and thereby recommend they be placed into the adult system when appropriate. The new rules are set to begin on October 1st, 2021.
Reporting for WGRT, Mike Smith.