A 20-year-old who gets into a fight or is caught stealing faces serious jail time if convicted.
In a far-ranging policy speech about bail reform and juvenile justice, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy recently said he no longer wants that to be the case, reported The Connecticut Mirror.
His proposal would divert thousands of people aged 18 to 20 from the adult corrections system and would instead treat them as juveniles. And he indicated that he wants to consider alternative ways to handle those under 25 who commit less-serious offenses.
Last year, 11,000 people aged 18, 19 or 20 were arrested in Connecticut. In nearly three-quarters of those cases a misdemeanor was the most serious offense, according to the Connecticut Judicial Branch. Another 19,800 people aged 21 to 24 were arrested.
Malloy said such a change would "wipe the slate clean" for low-risk offenders that have not matured entirely.
"Is it right that that 17 year-old can have a second chance but a 22 year-old cannot? This is the question that we should collectively answer," Malloy said.
He intends to propose a package of reforms to the General Assembly for its 2016 session, which convenes in February.
The changes Malloy proposed would make Connecticut the first state in the nation to raise the age for its juvenile justice system past 18. He said one inspiration for the idea came on a trip with to Germany, where offenders are treated as juvenile up to age 20.
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