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Rethinking how we treat young adult defendants

Friday 26th of July 2019 | Amerique du Nord, États-Unis
Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
Nouvelle

Three district attorneys recently called on the Legislature to raise the age of Juvenile Court jurisdiction to 21.

Berkshire DA Andrea Harrington, Northwestern DA David Sullivan and Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins released a statement asserting that changing the age limit would create a fairer and more developmentally appropriate justice system.

In their statement, the DAs referenced research on brain development that shows how adolescent and young adult offenders are simply different — they are less mature, more impulsive, more prone to risk-taking, and more vulnerable to outside influences. But they are also more malleable and hence more responsive to rehabilitation.

Back in 2013, 17-year-olds were brought into the Juvenile Court system. A task force chaired by Sen. Cynthia Creem and Rep. Paul Tucker is now studying whether Massachusetts should further raise the age.

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