As of today, Wisconsin Senator Jerry Petrowski, Representative Rob Hutton, and Representative Mary Czaja are circulating a bill to attempt to reduce recidivism rates among non-violent, first-time 17 year olds.
The bill would cause this type of offender to file their cases in juvenile court rather than in adult court, but excludes violent/repeat offenders who are 17.
“Wisconsin is one of only 9 states that still prosecutes all 17 year olds as adults,” says Senator Petrowski. “Young people with adult criminal records are less likely to graduate from high school, they have difficulty finding future employment, and face barriers to higher education and military service. The kids we’re talking about are non-violent and are having their first brush with the legal system and they deserve a second chance to become responsible adults.”
Judges will still hold the ability to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to send these offenders to the juvenile or adult system under this bill.
The bill is ultimately intended to reduce crime rates in Wisconsin, reduce recidivism rates among non-violent, first time 17 year old offenders, and save taxpayers money in the long run.
To read the news release put out by the Wisconsin Legislature today, click here.
To read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel‘s blog post about the bill, click here.