One of the pre-filed bills for the 2017 session is SB 40 sponsored by Sen. Wayne Wallingford (R-Cape Girardeau) which advocates for reforms in juvenile justice. Under the bill, juvenile jurisdiction is raised from the current 17 years of age to 18. The bill also prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from being detained in an adult jail unless the person is certified as an adult. SB 40 also raises the age of adult certification from 12 to 16 years of age and only if certain crimes are committed.
SB 40 follows a national trend that is moving away from harsh sentencing policies for youthful offenders. For example, Missouri is one of only a handful of states that still automatically considers 17 year olds as adults under the law. SB 40 would raise that age to 18.
The MCC supports the reforms measures in SB 40 as we believe youth should be treated differently than adults and should be given the opportunity for rehabilitation.