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Whitmer signs bill to raise the age of people automatically tried as adults to 18

October 31, 2019

After years of work on bills to raise the age of people charged with crimes as adults have failed, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a plan Thursday to automatically try people 18-years-old and younger as juveniles. The plan, known as 'Raise the Age,' changes the current state law that automatically charges 17-year-old offenders as adults. Michigan is one of four states to still do so. Whitmer’s signature came after the House and Senate passed the plans in early October.

Read the rest of this article from WWMT.

NEW REPORT: Texas Criminal Justice Coalition Releases Youth Justice Report

October 8, 2019

Today, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC) released its newest report, which shares the stories of youth, families, and justice practitioners impacted by Texas’ failure to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18. “Seventeen in the Adult Justice System,” which is available online here, comes after the fourth state legislative session in which TCJC and its allies have worked to “raise the age” to align with best practices in the 46 states where 17-year-olds are no longer automatically charged as adults.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Activists Push to 'Raise the Age' of Criminal Responsibility from 17 to 18

October 8, 2019

You have to be 18 to vote, join the military or even get married without permission from your parents. But in Texas, 17-year-olds are treated as adults when they commit crimes. Texas is one of only four states in the country to still do so. Advocates for 'raising the age' have unsuccessfully lobbied lawmakers for years, but now they're hoping the message from affected teens will resonate. 

Read the rest of this article from Spectrum News.

Criminal justice groups push to “raise the age” in Texas

October 8, 2019

Criminal justice groups are once again pushing efforts to “Raise the Age” of criminal responsibility. During the 86th Legislature, Texas legislators filed bills related to the way the state currently treats 17-year olds as adults when they commit crimes. House Bill 344 was a bill that would’ve raised the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18.

Read the rest of this article from KXAN.

HB 344 aims to protect anyone, 17, from being prosecuted as an adult

March 22, 2019

A new bill could change the way the Texas justice system upholds the law against minors who are a year away from being an adult. Right now, 17-year-olds that commit crimes could be charged as an adult, but one state lawmaker thinks that could even lead to a worse situation. The push to raise the age of criminal responsibility from, 17 to 18, has been going on for years.

Read the rest of this article from CBS 4.

Federal legislation boosts Raise-the-Age prospects in Texas

December 18, 2018

Texas is one of only four states which still charges 17 year olds as adults. But new federal legislation awaiting President Trump's signature will soon prevent the Lone Star State from housing 17-year olds in adult county jails, providing a big incentive to change their status to match 92% of other states and the federal government.

Read the entire article at Grits For Breakfast. 

New bill would put 17-year-old inmates in juvenile detention center instead of jail

December 18, 2018

 A bill headed to the president's desk could mean big changes for the way children are treated in the justice system. One of the first places to see change will be the Travis County Jail. “So, we have 17 year olds in our jail,” said Kristen Dark, the senior spokeswoman for the Travis County Sheriff’s Office, which runs the jail. There are 14 inmates under the age of 18 today. The number usually hovers around 20. Even though they are not yet old enough to vote, they are considered adults.

Read the entire article at CBS Austin

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department is making great changes, and 17-year-olds should benefit too

October 15, 2018

Thanks to changes by Camille Cain, executive director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department, children housed in youth justice facilities now get proper sleep and healthy snacks throughout the day. In addition to promoting healthy child development, "These changes also set the stage for future initiatives aimed at helping youth learn to regulate their own emotions, responses and behaviors," Cain said in a press release.

Read the entire article at the Dallas Morning News


September 11, 2018

On July 16th,  Texas Criminal Justice Coalition's Policy Attorney, Lindsey Linder, traveled to Durham, North Carolina, to attend the National Juvenile Justice Network’s annual conference. While there she joined dozens of people from around the country who had gathered to hold a vigil in honor of Niecey Fennell, a 17-year-old girl who died while being held in the adult detention center.

Read the entire article on the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition's blog

“They’re just setting those babies up for the penitentiary”: How minor offenses feed overcrowding at Houston youth jail

February 2, 2018

Across Texas, kids are getting into less trouble with the law even though the state population is exploding. So why is Harris County's juvenile detention center bursting at the seams? 

Read the rest of this article The Texas Tribune.


In crisis, Texas Juvenile Justice Department looks to an unconventional new leader

January 26, 2018

With no experience working directly with incarcerated kids, Camille Cain is an unconventional choice to be the new director of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. But experts hope she'll be well-suited to handle problems like staffing shortages and a sexual abuse scandal. 

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.

'That would break us': Raising age of responsibility would create massive influx to juvenile lockups

January 19, 2018

AUSTIN — Texas is unlikely to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 next year, a top state official has predicted, to the dismay of juvenile justice advocates. 

Read the rest of this article at The Dallas Morning News.

Should Texas Change the Law to Keep 17-Year-Olds Out of Adult Prison?

November 2, 2017

Do 17-year-old offenders belong in adult prison? Would there be benefits to raising the age of responsibility to 18 instead?

Read the rest of this blog post at the Goolsby Law Firm's blog.

Should Texas change law to keep 17-year-olds out of adult jails?

October 23, 2017

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition wants lawmakers to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 in the 2019 legislative session.

Read the rest of this article at KXAN.

Texas Advocates and Legislators Show Support for Juvenile Justice

October 20, 2017

A group of juvenile justice reform advocates hosted a press conference at the Texas Capitol today as part of Youth Justice Action Month calling for a new commitment to juvenile justice reform in Texas.

Read the rest of this press release here.

Texas Goes Big on Youth Justice Reform

October 12, 2017

NJJN’s Texas members, the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition (TCJC), Texas Appleseed and Texans Care for Children were successful in their collaborative efforts to pass legislation focused on dual-status youth, confidentiality of juvenile records, 10 and 11 year olds in the juvenile justice system and the suspension and expulsion of kids in early grades.

Read the rest of this post at the National Juvenile Justice Network.

Raise the age from 17 in criminal cases

July 24, 2017

During the past 10 years, Texas has made incredible progress both in reducing the number of individuals incarcerated and in creating alternative programs for low-risk offenders. This progress, including mandatory sex offender rehabilitation and supervision programs, have contributed to decreased recidivism rates in Texas.

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

Let's stop condemning children to adult lives in prison

June 22, 2017

Christopher L. was 16. Had the Chicago media deemed his alleged crime salacious enough, they would have printed his full name. They revealed the full names of other kids at the jail where I worked as a guard in the late 1990s.

Read the rest of this op-ed at Dallas News.

Raise the age, or pay the price

May 18, 2017

Once again, the Texas House of Representatives has passed a thoughtful proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 from 17.

Read the rest of this article at TribTalk.

Rep. Dutton: If "raise the age" bill dies in Senate, he'll kill Senate bills

May 11, 2017

State Rep. Harold Dutton Jr., D-Houston, has set his crosshairs on Senate bills Wednesday after learning that a major criminal justice reform bill that he authored was not only languishing in the upper chamber but appeared to be left for dead.

Read the rest of this article at The Texas Tribune.