LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Seventeen-year-olds can’t vote, drop out of school or buy cigarettes in Michigan. But they’re automatically prosecuted, sentenced and locked up as adults if they commit a crime.
That could change after a bipartisan push to raise Michigan’s age for adult offenders from 17 to 18 received a major lift in the Legislature. The Republican-controlled House approved a 20-bill package this past week.
Michigan is among just nine states whose default is to treat 17-year-olds as adults in criminal proceedings.
The legislation would define 17-year-olds as juveniles and make other changes such as prohibiting children under 18 from being detained in adult facilities.
The bills’ fate in the Senate is unclear because of cost and other concerns raised by county officials and prosecutors.