GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation Thursday that will raise the age for criminal prosecution.
The impact of the bills is that Michigan will come in line with the vast majority of other states that prosecute those 18 and above as adults.
In Michigan, the standard had been 17.
Whitmer signed 18 bills known as the “Raise the Age” legislative package.
For anyone under the age of 18, it will mean being treated as a minor in juvenile court and impact the way they are held and tried. It could also lead to more rehabilitation programs that may help reduce recidivism, according to information supplied by the governor’s office.
The governor spoke only briefly as she said she was losing her voice.
The Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist talked about the impact of the legislation and other efforts.
“Today is another historic step in reforming our failed, outdated and inadequate criminal justice policies and we know that we need to take new approaches to criminal justice, so we can hit really three big goals for reform,” Gilchrist said. “One, is reducing people’s contact with the system in the first place. The second, is treating people with dignity and humanity throughout their contact with the system. Finally, preparing people for success in life in whatever way makes sense for them once they exit the system.”
While this package of bills will mean most crimes committed by someone 18 and under will be handled in juvenile court, particularly violent or heinous crimes could be moved to the adult court system, depending on the decision of the prosecutor.