Michigan Senate votes to try 17-year-olds as juveniles

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A push to no longer automatically try 17-year-olds as adults is gaining momentum in Michigan’s Legislature.

The Senate overwhelmingly approved a 14-bill package Wednesday to put 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile justice system, with an exception for violent felony cases. The House plans to pass a similar plan Thursday.

Michigan is among just four states whose default is to treat 17-year-olds as adults in criminal proceedings.

The bills’ supporters say 17-year-olds could receive age-appropriate rehabilitation services that are unavailable in the adult corrections system. They say it is unfair to treat 17-year-olds as adults when 18 is the minimum wage to vote and serve on a jury.

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