Raise the Age Louisiana: SB 324
Louisiana is one of only nine states that still exclude 17-year-olds from the juvenile justice system for all offenses – even for the most minor, nonviolent misdemeanors.
SB 324, the Raise the Age Louisiana Act, will include 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system, holding kids accountable in age-appropriate settings. Today, Louisiana is one of only 9 states that exclude all 17-year-olds from the juvenile justice system – even for the most minor, nonviolent offenses.
Louisianans agree that raising the age is good policy. Polling by LSU shows that 66% of Louisianans – a majority of both parties – believe that 17-year-olds should be included in the juvenile justice system. And, in February of 2016, LSU’s nonpartisan Institute for Public Health and Justice released a report urging the Legislature to raise the age.
Raising the age is common sense. In Louisiana, adult usually means 18: 17-year-olds can’t vote, serve on juries, join the military, or buy a lottery ticket. There’s only one exception: Kids are automatically charged, jailed, and imprisoned as adults the day they turn 17, regardless of their offense. Their arrests and convictions are public record, which gets in the way of finishing school and joining the workforce. And, if sentenced to incarceration, those youth are sent to adult prisons, where they are in danger of physical and sexual abuse.
Did you know?
- Prosecuting youth in the adult system can increase recidivism by as much as 34%, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
- More than 90% of all offenses committed by 17-year-olds in Louisiana are nonviolent.
- Louisiana is one of only 9 states that prosecute all 17-year-olds as adults.