Raise the Age
Missouri needs to Raise the Age of juvenile jurisdiction. Raising the age means including 17-year-olds in the juvenile justice system. Right now, Missouri is one of only 5 states that exclude all 17-year-olds from the juvenile justice system.
In Missouri, 17-year-olds can’t vote, serve on juries, join the military, or buy a lottery ticket. They aren’t treated like adults. There’s only one exception: Kids are automatically charged, jailed, and imprisoned as adults the day they turn 17, even for the most minor offenses.
Raising the age will improve public safety, save taxpayer dollars, treat families fairly, and get better outcomes for vulnerable young people.
A lot of youth in Missouri can be held in adult jails before even having a trial. FORJ is advocating for reforms that would prevent any youth certified as an adult from being held in an adult jail until the youth has been sentenced or turns 17 years of age, in recognition of their vulnerability there.