Raise the Age
On September 18, 2013, Governor Patrick signed House Bill 1432, “An Act Expanding Juvenile Jurisdiction,” raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 17 to 18 for delinquency cases. This legislation is a major step forward and long overdue. As a result of this new law, juveniles will be afforded an additional year to benefit from juvenile court judges, probation officers and youth corrections agency personnel who have particular expertise in child and adolescent development. In addition they will benefit from policies and services specifically tailored to juvenile offenders. Raising the age brings Massachusetts in line with the majority of other states and the federal government that set 18 as the age of adult criminal jurisdiction. During the past three years, The Child Advocate has played a leading role in advocating for this legislation by testifying before legislative committees and speaking to numerous organizations and the media in support of raising the age.