Lawmakers closer to passing 'raise the age' legislation

Lawmakers closer to passing 'raise the age' legislation

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - A bill that would raise the age at which a juvenile can be charged as an adult in Louisiana is being taken up by the full House Thursday.

Current Louisiana law says that a 17-year-old accused of minor crimes can be tried as adults, but legislators and the governor feel that should change.

A proposal authored by Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans, would change the definition of a delinquent, upping the age the age for which a juvenile can be tried as an adult from 17 to 18.

Morrell argues the bill would prevent 17-year-olds from being stigmatized by an adult conviction.

But some are concerned about the costs of the measure. According to our partners at | The Times-Picayune, it cost the state more money to house juvenile offenders compared to adult offenders.

Governor John Bel Edwards has made "raise the age" legislation a priority, and feels the measure could give some juveniles who commit minor crimes a better chance at staying out of jail.

"The juvenile justice system does a better job of reducing recidivism than the regular crime system. This means that in the future, we will have fewer crime victims and less money spent on incarceration," Edwards said.

The measure already passed through the Senate but because of amendments it will have to go back to the Senate for final approval if the House passes the measure.

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