Resolution to Treat 17-Year-Olds As Juveniles

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Model Bill Info
Bill Title Resolution to Treat 17-Year-Olds As Juveniles
Date Introduced December 3, 2015
Date Finalized January 16, 2016
Date Accessed April 27, 2018
Type Model Resolution
Status Final
Task Forces Criminal Justice
Keywords Criminal Justice


This Resolution recognizes that 17-year-olds, who typically are juniors and seniors in high school living with their parents, should be presumptively treated as juveniles in the justice system.

Resolution to Treat 17-Year-Olds As Juveniles

Whereas, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is committed to developing effective criminal justice policies that create safe communities for citizens as well as strong state budgets; and

WHEREAS, in more than 80 percent of states 17-year-olds are presumptively processed in the juvenile justice system; and

WHEREAS, 17-year-olds are typically juniors and seniors in high school living with their parents; and

WHEREAS, state juvenile justice systems typically allow for most types of offenses to be eventually be sealed if the person subsequently is law-abiding while an adult criminal record presents a significant obstacle to an individual’s ability to obtain employment, housing, and education, particularly given the proliferation of mechanisms for performing far-reaching background checks; and

Whereas, research has found that 17-year-olds are less likely to recidivate when placed in the juvenile system, which generally provides smaller caseloads, greater access to rehabilitation, and closer collaboration with families and schools; and

Whereas, 17-year-olds are far more likely to be physically and sexually abused if places in adult prisons; and

Whereas, only the juvenile system ensures that the parent or guardian is contacted upon arrest and given the right to participate in court proceedings; and

Whereas, states that have recently raised the age such as Connecticut and Illinois to bring 17-year-olds in the juvenile system have experienced positive results; and

WHEREAS, states have procedures for trying youths as adults, which generally apply to the most serious crimes, and such provisions would similarly apply to 17 year-olds if they are presumptively treated as juveniles;

Therefore Be It Resolved that [insert state here] should join more than four-fifths of all states in presumptively treating 17-year-olds as juveniles by passing legislation to raise its age of juvenile jurisdiction.

Approved by Task Force in December 2015