We need to treat kids as kids.
Missouri is one of only five states in the nation that treats all 17-year-olds like adults in the court system. It's time we raise the age in Missouri for juvenile crimes from 17 to 18 and protect Missouri's children and families.
Kids are automatically charged, jailed, and imprisoned as adults the day they turn 17, even for the most minor offenses.
That's why the ACLU of Missouri supports HB 1255 and SB 793. This legislation will reduce crime and save taxpayer money by getting kids the help they need rather than making them live an unproductive life behind bars.
Let's ensure Missouri's teens have the chance for a bright future. Including 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to reduce reoffending by 34 percent. Our juvenile justice system is better at holding kids accountable and getting them on the right track.
Economic opportunities vanish for 17-year-olds who are treated like adults. A criminal record creates barriers to education, employment, housing, and joining the military. And, kids housed in adult jails are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than kids in juvenile detention.
Tell them in 2018, it's time to Raise the Age.