State Program Alters How Juveniles are Treated
State Program Alters How Juveniles are Treated

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State Program Alters How Juveniles are Treated

State Program Alters How Juveniles are Treated

Beginning in July 2012, Connecticut will join 37 other states in the U.S. that have set 18 as the legal age for adulthood when it comes to criminal activity. In 2010, Connecticut raised the age at which offenders of minor crimes could be tried as adults from 16 to 17. This year, however, the state will raise that age to 18, so that 17-year-olds who could previously be tried as adults would now face juvenile court proceedings for most cases.

According to research, juvenile offenders who are prosecuted through the juvenile system are less likely to commit crimes in the future than those processed as adults in the adult criminal justice system. This is seen as one of the benefits of raising the minimum age.

The Connecticut Juvenile Justice Association also points out that raising the age to 18 would lessen overcrowding in adult facilities, as well as protect those underage offenders from potential harm in adult prison. According to the CJJA, juveniles face a higher risk for suicide and victimization by other offenders when they are placed in adult facilities.

The current law in Connecticut allows 17-year-olds to be sentenced under the same sentencing guidelines as adult offenders, with the exception of the death penalty. The juvenile offenders are also kept in adult facilities while awaiting trial, sentenced to adult facilities upon conviction, and given the same probation conditions as adults.

For those arrested for or charged with a crime, particularly juveniles, it is imperative to contact an experienced attorney. An attorney can help to protect the rights of the individual by making sure the charges are filed in the correct court, arguing for suppression of evidence or statements, negotiating with the prosecution and defending the person's rights at trial.