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House committee begins talks on changing juvenile crimes law

Flickr User Ralph Ueltzhoeffer

A state House committee is considering changes to the law that requires juveniles charged with serious crimes in Michigan to be tried and sentenced as adults.

Experts told the committee that adult-time-for-adult-crime sentencing has not worked. Instead jails and prisons have been filled with teens and young adults not ready for life outside.

Jason Smith of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency says the last few states that still automatically charge and sentence teens as adults are changing their policies. 

“Michigan runs the risk of being the only state in the entire nation that continues to unfairly prosecute all 17-year-olds as adults.”

The holdup is creating a plan to ensure costs of the existing juvenile system are not passed on to local courts and jails.