Today, the Missouri Senate passed Senate Bill 793, which the House passed earlier this week. With the Governor’s signature, the new law would make Missouri the 46th state to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 years old. As a result, 17-year-olds would be placed in the juvenile justice system unless they are certified as an adult by a judge because of their criminal history or nature of the crime.
Not only is this policy good for Missouri’s youth, it is also a more effective use of tax dollars. According to Dr. David Mitchell from Missouri State University, compared to teens who are incarcerated in adult prisons, teens that go through the juvenile system have better earning potential and are much less likely to return to crime. Embracing this policy is a step in the right direction for Missouri’s teens and communities. Congratulations to the General Assembly for a job well done.