Raise the Age Campaign News- March 2019 From Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency
Last Thursday, March 7 2019, Michigan’s Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee held the first of several hearings considering legislation to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18-years-old.
Committee Chairman Pete Lucido, signaled his support: “It’s very important to raise the age. Save the taxpayers money, get a better benefit in service instead of punitive measures that is all that the criminal justice system and the adult system have to offer”.
The major barriers to passage have involved concerns that juvenile detention and residential facilities do not have the capacity to house 17-year-olds, and concerns around the cost of implementing the Raise the Age legislative package.
On the question of capacity, Nicole Faulds, Juvenile Court Administrator for Macomb County, testified that their county’s juvenile detention facility can hold 140 youth, but they have a current daily population of between 40 and 50 youth, which leaves space for some of the 17-year-olds who will require short-term confinement to be housed there. It will be important, as part of statewide implementation, to conduct an assessment to better understand the state’s current detention capacity and strategies for addressing the need through, among other things, the use of evidence-based practices that drive down detention rates overall.
Chris Robinson, Director of Residential Services for Highfields, a juvenile residential treatment program located in Ingham County which serves Michigan youth statewide, also testified that his facility has the capacity to house some of the 17-year-olds who may be sent to a longer term residential placement if the Raise the Age legislation passes. He stated that he believed there were enough residential bed spaces around the state to meet the need.
Senator Sylvia Santana, the sponsor of legislation that will provide a funding mechanism for the implementation of Raise the Age, addressed cost concerns head-on:
“You don’t write a policy without knowing how to pay for it. Well, we know how to pay for it.”
Approximately 20 state and national organizations from across the political spectrum submitted cards and letters of support at the hearing, including the ACLU, the Michigan League for Public Policy, R Street Institute, Mackinac Center, and the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency.
We are encouraging all supporters of the Raise the Age package to attend the second hearing scheduled for Thursday, March 14th at 8:30 am. The location is:
Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee
DATE: Thursday, March 14th, 2019
TIME: 8:30 AM
PLACE: Room 1100, Binsfield Office Building,
201 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933
Senate TV will broadcast the hearing live for interested parties who are unable to attend. It is expected that this will be the first of two likely hearings, as it is current practice for committees to hold multiple hearings on a bill(s) before reporting it out to the main body.