About Raise The Age Texas

What Does it Mean?

What Does It Mean to “Raise the Age?”

Right now, 17-year-olds in Texas are considered adults for criminal justice purposes.  “Raising the age” refers to increasing the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.  That means that 17-year-olds will be under the jurisdiction of the juvenile justice system, unless a court finds they should be sent to the adult system on a case-by-case basis.

Legislative History in Texas

83rd (R) Legislative Session: 2013

The idea of “raising the age” in Texas was first introduced during the 83rd (R) legislative session.

Bill Filed: HB 3634 (McClendon), Relating to the creation of the Juvenile Court Jurisdiction Task Force.

Status: HB 3634 was left pending in the House Corrections Committee and was later amended to HB 990 (Thompson) under Art. 1A.065. HB 990 made it through the House and was referred to the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, where it was never heard.

Representative McClendon filed HB 3634 at the request of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) and used state-based research to support her push for passage. Professor Michele Deitch with the LBJ School of Public Affairs was the author of this research, Seventeen going on Eighteen: An Operational and Fiscal Analysis of a Proposal to Raise the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction in Texas.

83rd Legislative Interim: 2013-2015

At the end of the 83rd (R) legislative session, Representative Herrero approached Professor Deitch about conducting a series of research projects that his committee – the House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence – could use to inform their interim charges. One of those projects was to study “raising the age” of juvenile jurisdiction and issues of certification.

Interim Charge #1: Study the classification of 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system of Texas.

Hearing Date: March 25, 2014

Main Take-Away: The hearing reflected a growing a consensus around treating 17 year-olds in the juvenile justice system. The main points of concern were implementation (as in timing) and the short-term costs at the front-end (e.g., local juvenile probation departments).

84th (R) Legislative Session: 2015

Five legislators filed bills to “raise the age”:

(1) HB 53 (McClendon), relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.

(2) HB 69 (McClendon), relating to the creation of the juvenile court jurisdiction task force.

(3) HB 330 (Wu), relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.

(4) HB 1240 (Walle), relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.

(5) SB 104 (Hinojosa), relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.

85th Legislative Session: 2017 Bills

  • Bill Number: HB 122 [Dutton, Rose, Jarvis Johnson, Cook, Wu]
    Bill Caption: Relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.
     
  • Bill Number: HB 676 [Wu]
    Bill Caption: Relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.
     
  • Bill Number: HB 1015 [Dutton]
    Bill Caption: Relating to the age of a child at which a juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction over the child, to the age of criminal responsibility, and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to those ages.
     
  • Bill Number: SB 941 [Hughes]
    Bill Caption: Relating to the age of criminal responsibility and to certain substantive and procedural matters related to that age.
     

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