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House Committee Begins Talks On Changing Juvenile Lifer Law


A state House committee is considering changes to the law that requires juveniles charged with serious crimes in Michigan to be tried and sentenced as adults. Capitol Correspondent Rick Pluta reports.

Experts told the committee that adult-time-for-adult-crime sentencing has not worked.

Instead jails and prisons have been filled with teens and young adults not ready for life outside. 

Jason Smith of the Michigan Council on Crime and Delinquency said the last few states that still automatically charge and sentences teen as adults are changing their policies.  

“Michigan runs the risk of being the only state in the entire nation that continues to unfairly prosecute all 17-year-olds as adults," said Smith.

The holdup is creating a plan to ensure costs of the existing juvenile system are not passed on to local courts and jails. 

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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