Massachusetts is one of only 13 states where criminal cases involving 17-year-olds are handled in the adult justice system rather than juvenile justice system. Fortunately, though, this may change; the state legislature is considering a bill that would increase the age of criminal responsibility in Massachusetts to 18. This follows on the heels of a recent Citizens for Juvenile Justice Report showing that there is a 47 percent greater likelihood of a teen being arrested again if the adolescent is charged in the adult system versus the juvenile system. The report also said younger inmates are more likely to be sexually victimized.
Currently, 500 17-year-olds are sent to adult jails or prisons in Massachusetts every year.
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