A Senate committee approves legislation that would increase the age to 18 for a suspect to be prosecuted as an adult. Currently, individuals 17 and over are put into the adult criminal system once charged with a crime. Criminal justice expert Ed Mulvey says a 17 year-old offender is better off in the juvenile justice system.

“All the studies basically show that these kids, if anything, they’re likely to re-offend more seriously, more quickly, and overall do more offenses after they’ve spent time in the adult system.”

An 18-year-old high school student went before the committee supporting the legislation. He says this bill is close to his heart because his friend was arrested at 17. He says the adult prison system is not a place for juveniles because his friend lost his pride and it couldn’t be restored.

“My friend lost his motives in life. He is no longer chasing the same goals that he was chasing before he went into prison. That just puzzled me as a person that an adult prison changed the person that he is today.”

The legislation will now move to the full Senate. 17-year-olds who commit serious offenses could still be tried as an adult. A 15-year-old high school student also spoke in favor of the bill. She said her brother was arrested at the age of 17 and spent a week in jail without receiving any educational hours.

“If my brother would’ve been sent to a juvenile court, he would’ve received his educational hours that he needed. I have dedicated the time to ask you to support this bill for young men and women like my brother.”