Thursday, March 29, 2018

How Far Should "Raise-the-Age" Reforms Go?
"While the US imposes an age of majority on youthful offenders at the age of 18, many other nations rely on higher ages such as 20 or 21 to demarcate the separation of juvenile offenders and juvenile correctional systems from their adult counterparts.

In recent years, many have argued that the US should move to a higher age of majority, such as 21. Such changes, generally known as 'raise-the-age' reforms, are currently under consideration by several state legislatures, such as Connecticut and Illinois. Moreover, many states have already passed legislation raising the age of majority from 16 or 17, to the age of 18.

Advocates for these changes argue that corrections systems need to account for the lack of emotional, psychological, and intellectual maturity in youthful offenders. In particular, they argue that youthful offenders may not be mature enough to properly understand the costs of the harsher punishments that characterize adult correctional systems, and therefore to understand the consequences of their criminal acts....

 A recent research paper ....finds that this narrative of costless improvement is very likely incorrect. We find that youth are in fact deterred by the harsher punishments imposed at the age of majority."

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