Pressure the Senate! Raise the Age to keep 17 year-olds out of Texas adult prisons.
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As an educator, I see teenagers daily who honestly aren't thinking about their actions nor the consequences. Many believe that they are invincible and some just succumb to peer pressure and the need to be liked or to fit in. The pressure is greater than when we were growing up. Society today has our teens in a fishbowl of selfishness, masquerading around in this selfie-taking world that has a hashtag for everything they do...whether it be good or bad. In character or out of character. When this world as they know it with all their privilege, opportunity and freedom is shut behind the walls of a place they have never discussed, will slam upon either a teen that can not handle the pressure and ends life as they know it or creates a monster that a mother doesn't recognize anymore and a society that shuns them.
A house bill that supports raising the age of criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 in Texas passed the House last year, April 2017 but has been stuck in the Senate since. Similar bills for years have failed despite numerous studies that show the benefit of raising the age from 17 to 18. Texas is only one of the few states left that treats 17-year-old offenders as adults in criminal matters although they can neither vote, drive without restrictions nor serve their country. Many of them, like my son who is a first time offender, hasn't had an opportunity to get a job or finish high school. Immersing 17 year-olds through the criminal justice system, usually for minor offenses could ultimately end them and their chance of being productive citizens. As in the case of my son, a junior in high school, arrested for the first time had his confession used against him when all he knew was, to tell the truth. The stark reality is, many Texas residents aren't aware that their teen is an adult if he or she commits a crime.
This petition is a plea to take a long, hard look at research and weigh the scales of justice towards rehabilitation instead of being locked away in the adult prison system. I, along with countless others, beg of you to pass this bill and support change by allowing our youth to be productive and not products of recidivism.
A mother, an educator, and advocate for youth @mothersforsons.
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