There’s a push underway to raise the age limit for juvenile jurisdiction in the state from 17 to 18 years old. Currently, Missouri is one of only five states that have not already passed similar legislation, meaning that 17 year old are automatically handled in the adult court system for any crimes they commit. Jeree Thomas is with the Campaign for Youth Justice and she says most of those offenders don’t belong in an adult prison.
Missouri law, like most states, DOES allow for violent offenders who are minors to be tried as adults. That’s an option Thomas says would not go away.
A panel discussion on the topic will be held next week in Springfield. It will be co-sponsored by the Missouri State University Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.