Justice System in Massachusetts Struggling with How to Define Adult
Have you or someone you know been accused of a juvenile crime? Even someone under the age of 18 should hire an experienced criminal defender after facing any type of charge because of the potentially serious consequences.
Reform in recent years has brought awareness to how juveniles are treated in the justice system. Some advocates have called for avoiding the classification as an adult. When a teenager is accused of a crime and treated as an adult, the consequences of a conviction may be more severe. For that reason, criminal justice reform has targeted how to define adult.
The recent Bay State reforms in terms of criminal justice are looking at proposals to increase the juvenile age to 18 and enhancing the terminology for adult to 19. Some supporters say that the delay of adult milestones such as getting married or full-time employment indicate that youth are slower to mature and that children should not be punished as a result.
The sweeping criminal justice reform package could mean that 18-year olds would be treated as juveniles for the vast majority of crimes. In a recent House version of the bill, the criminal majority remained at age 18, indicating that not everyone inside the state legislatures is in support of raising the age. This would be the highest age of juvenile jurisdiction in the United States if the criminal majority at 19 was signed into law. Widespread reform across the country has already been completed in other states to raise the age to 18.
Massachusetts as recently as 10 years ago did not consider 17-year olds to be juveniles to be arrested. There is a growing body of research supporting that adolescent mental development indicates that teens should not be included in the adult system and rather the juvenile system. According to research, this classifying these older teens in the juvenile system lower recidivism rates. If you or someone you know has already been arrested for a crime in Massachusetts, you need to consult with an experienced attorney immediately to discuss your rights.