Support a Developmentally Appropriate Justice System that Increases Public Safety in Texas

Support a Developmentally Appropriate Justice System that Increases Public Safety in Texas

56 have signed. Let’s get to 100!

Why this petition matters

Started by Arielle Clarkson

Texas is 1 of 3 states that continues to send youth under the age of 18 to the adult criminal justice system. It is time that Texas recognizes that every parent of a 17-year old intuitively knows-that a 17-year-old is still a kid.  

▪ Crime is at an all-time low in Texas, and the vast majority (95%) of 17-year-olds are arrested for nonviolent and misdemeanant behavior. The collateral consequences that these youth endure from remaining under adult criminal jurisdiction- including future barriers to housing and employment that stem from an adult criminal record, as well as potential trauma from exposure to physical and sexual abuse in the adult facilities – outweigh unfounded fears 

Raising the age in Texas will expand juvenile jurisdiction to include 17-year-olds promoting a youth justice system that focuses on public safety, rehabilitation, fairness, and social responsibility. 

▪ In 2019, over 16,000 17-year-olds were arrested and subjected to Texas’s adult criminal justice system. This is despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of 17-year-old arrests are for non-violent and misdemeanor offenses, such as larceny, possession of marijuana, and violation of liquor laws.  

▪ “The Raise the Age Effect” increases overall public safety. As states have raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18 or higher, the arrest rates of 18-20-year-olds have declined by 50% and the arrests of 15-17 olds by 60%, falling much faster than other age groups in the adult systems. Studies also show that youth who avoid the adult justice system are less likely to re-offend.  

▪ Studies show that recidivism rates for youth processed through the adult system are far higher than those of comparable youths processed through the juvenile justice system; in fact, a Centers for Disease Control Task Force found that youth were 34% more likely to be rearrested after going through the adult system. 

Urge Texas lawmakers to do the right thing and Raise the Age!

56 have signed. Let’s get to 100!