Missouri is one of only five states in the country where all 17-year-olds are automatically tried as adults, regardless of their offense. At 17, a youth is not considered mature enough to vote, buy cigarettes and alcohol, or go to the military, but is deemed old enough to face the criminal justice system by themselves, get an adult sentence and be incarcerated with adults.
Youth housed in adult jails are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than youth in juvenile detention facilities. Research tells us that youth who are prosecuted in the adult system are 34% more likely to recidivate and with more violent offenses than those handled by the juvenile system. Treating youth as youth does not only ensure better outcomes for them, but for their communities and public safety. Learn more here.
That’s why it is time to #RaiseTheAgeMO! The Raise the Age (RTA) movement is about changing this harmful approach by letting youth under 18 start in the juvenile system, because they deserve the chance to turn their lives around. Lear more about Raise the Age here.