Representative Carolyn Dykema (D-Holliston) applauds Governor Deval Patrick for signing into law bipartisan legislation increasing the age of juvenile jurisdiction from the 17th birthday to the 18th birthday as it stands in 38 other states.
“As a cosponsor of this legislation filed by my colleagues Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) and Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich) , it is critical that juveniles that enter the justice system are given proper guidance, structure and tools to get back on the path to being productive members of our community,” said Rep. Dykema. “Brain development research in recent years has shown that adolescents between the ages of 11 and 18 are at a critical point of growing and development and this change will ensure that we are giving a real chance for rehabilitation for these youths.”
Through the mandatory education and substance abuse prevention programs at juvenile detention centers not available in the adult prison system, the law will help prevent secondary offenses by adolescents. Parents of 17-year old offenders would also have a right to be notified about their child’s arrest and court hearings.