House enacts "raise the age" bill

Thursday, May. 23, 2013
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On May 3, MBA Secretary Martha Rush O’Mara was joined by Joshua Dohan, director of the Youth Advocacy Division at CPCS, to testify in favor of House Bill 1432.

On Wednesday, May 22 the House of Representatives enacted Massachusetts Bar Association-supported legislation to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18. House Bill No. 1432 now awaits action by the Senate.

"We commend the House for raising the age of juvenile offenders to 18," Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Counsel Martin W. Healy said. "The rehabilitative nature of Juvenile Court is better suited, with specific resources and trained professionals to get delinquent juveniles -- whose adolescent brain development is still ongoing -- back on track to be productive successful citizens."

Currently, 17-year-olds who are accused of a crime are held in jail with adults and tried in adult court. The commonwealth, in virtually every other area of law, sets 18 as the age of adulthood. There is no parental notification requirement regardless of the severity of the crime. If signed into law, Massachusetts will join 38 other states, the District of Columbia and the federal government in recognizing age 18 as the age of majority.

To see the bill, click here.