Seventeen-year-olds would no longer be automatically charged as an adult in the criminal justice system under reforms approved by the legislature this week. Under the plan, for the purposes of adjudication or prosecution of criminal offenses a 17-year-old would be treated as minors in most circumstances. However, prosecutors will have discretion, allowing them to waive minors who commit violent crimes into the adult system. The legislation also includes a funding plan to help local governments cover the additional costs associated with keeping this population in the juvenile system, which is administered at the local level. The legislation will be sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer for her consideration. If she signs the package into law, the changes would take effect on October 1, 2021.
Currently, Michigan is one of only four states that automatically charge 17-year-olds as adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, including 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to reduce recidivism by 35%.
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