Press Contact: For all media inquiries, please contact Lisa Koetz, Bloom Communications for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition, at or (512) 535-5066.

States are raising age for adult prosecution back to 18

February 1, 2017

Miguel Moll had a choice: Would he be a beast or a victim? Moll was 17 when he was taken into custody on suspicion of joyriding. He’d been a passenger in a stolen car. It was exactly the kind of dumb thing teenagers do; but under Texas law, 17-year-olds are automatically prosecuted as adults.

Read the rest of this article at the ABA Journal.

Coalition backs Texas effort to raise age for juvenile offenders

January 31, 2017

Texans have to be 18 years old to vote, join the military or buy a lottery ticket. But when arrested for any crime from misdemeanor to felony, 17-year-olds are treated like adults, an inconsistency some legislators, judges and religious leaders hope to change.

Read the rest of this article at the Houston Chronicle.

Juvenile justice advocates look to raise age of criminal responsibility to 18

January 30, 2017

Seventeen-year-olds can't vote, join the military or buy cigarettes or alcohol, but they're treated as adults in criminal cases in Texas. About 200 people rallied at the Capitol on Monday to change that.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.

Texomans weigh in on 'raise the age' push

January 30, 2017

Hours after a rally at the Texas state capitol to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 17 to 18, Texomans are voicing their opinions.

Read the rest of this article at WMC Action News 5.

Here are four key criminal justice issues in the Texas Legislature

January 29, 2017

The top issue for juvenile justice advocates this session will be pushing to raise the age of criminal responsibility from age 17 to 18. State law has considered 17-year-olds adults for criminal purposes for decades, but critics say the practice could do more harm than good to children, who they say have no business being locked up with adult offenders instead of being treated with 16-year-olds and younger people in the juvenile justice system.

Read the rest of this article at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Rose: Handling 17-year-old offenders

January 21, 2017

When 17-year-old Texans are caught pulling a high school prank, shoplifting, or getting in more serious trouble, they are automatically considered adults and sent to the adult criminal justice system. That’s bad policy for youth and taxpayers, and momentum is building to change it.

Read the rest of this op-ed at The Tennessean.

Raise the Age

January 20, 2017

Charles Rotramel is joined by Elizabeth Henneke to discuss the movement to keep Texas 17-year-olds out of the adult criminal justice system, and why it is of critical importance to our kids.

Listen to this podcast at reClaimed: Dialogues on Justice and Kinship.

Coalition aims to keep Texas 17-year-olds out of adult jails

December 14, 2016

Expanding reentry education, job training and treatment alternatives to incarceration were announced Wednesday as the upcoming legislative priorities for the Texas Smart-On-Crime Coalition.

View the news coverage at Austin KXAN.

Keep Preteens Out of Juvenile System, Texas House Panel Told

September 7, 2016

Already facing calls to limit when teenagers are treated as adults in the criminal justice system, Texas lawmakers next year may also see legislation trying to keep preteens from being shunted into the juvenile justice system.  

Read the rest of this article at the Texas Tribune.

Op-Ed: Time to raise the age for keeping kids in juvenile court system

August 2, 2016

An issue that was debated in the last legislative session and should be passed this legislative session is raising the age of offenders who are treated as adults in the Texas criminal justice system. After studying this issue for several years and speaking with criminal justice experts, I have concluded that this is an important issue that needs correcting in order to salvage young lives and increase the size of Texas’ workforce.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Reversals of teens' move to adult court raise questions about process

January 3, 2016

AUSTIN - For the first time, Texas appeals courts have overturned the convictions of two teenagers tried as adults, ruling that the juvenile courts did not provide enough evidence to explain why the youths were "certified" as adult defendants.

Read the rest of this article at the Houston Chronicle.

Why Is Texas Still Sending 17-Year-Olds to Adult Prisons?

July 30, 2015

Reformers argue that treating 17-year-olds differently from younger teens leads to higher sexual abuse and suicide rates, as well as costing the state money.

Read the rest of the article at The Vice.

The 17-Year-Old Adults

June 3, 2015

Measures to raise the cutoff age of who counts as an adult in the Texas criminal justice system from 17 to 18 failed to pass before the end of the biennial legislative session on June 1. Reform advocates promised to renew their push for the change in 2017, while hailing changes to the state's laws on truancy and juvenile probation.

Read the rest of this article at The Marshall Project.

Texas Juvenile Justice Reformers: ‘Raise the Age’ Will Rise Again

June 1, 2015

Supporters of overhauling juvenile justice in Texas cheered the passage of two state bills even as some mourned the failure of a third that would have stopped the prosecution of 17-year-olds as adults.

Read the rest of this article at the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange.

Boggs: Why raising the age of criminal responsibility just makes sense

March 25, 2015

It’s a Friday night and your daughter comes to you with the usual request: “Hey, Mom? Can I borrow the car tonight? Emily is having some people over.” You want to say no, but then remember your own teenage years. Oh, to be a teenager.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Austin American-Statesman.

Parker and Schneider: Make 17-year-olds juveniles in justice system

February 25, 2015

As juvenile court judges, our mission is to help troubled kids get back on track while ensuring accountability and community safety. To help our communities meet those goals, we join sheriffs and other officials in calling on the Texas Legislature to make the juvenile justice system the default for 17-year-old offenders.

Read the rest of this op-ed at the Houston Chronicle.

Pro: 17-year-olds in justice system deserve second chance

February 15, 2015

Seventeen-year-olds deserve to be a part of a system that has a better chance of turning them into productive citizens. Their success breeds success and safety for society, after all, advocates of juvenile justice say.

Read the rest of this article at the Victoria Advocate.

Age inappropriate

January 8, 2015

In Texas, you have to be 21 to apply for a concealed handgun, 18 to play the lottery and 18 to get a body piercing without a parent's consent. Yet a nearly century-old Texas law treats a 17-year-old who shoplifts an iPhone as an adult criminal.

Read the rest of this article at the Houston Chronicle.

Juvenile advocates want Texas’ age of adulthood raised

January 2, 2015

In Texas, you have to be 21 to apply for a concealed handgun permit, and, in many cities, 18 to buy an e-cigarette.

Read the rest of this article at the San Antonio Express-News.

Fort Bend braces for increase in juvenile offenders if legal age is changed

January 2, 2015

With the start of the 2015 legislative session on the horizon, Fort Bend County is preparing for a possible change to the age at which criminal offenders are classified as adults in Texas - a shift that some worry could leave the county's juvenile detention program in the lurch.

Read the rest of this article at the Houston Chronicle.