A bill that would bump up the age of adult criminal responsibility from 17 to 18 is scheduled for a vote in the Texas House today.
Advocates say this gives a second chance to 17-year-olds who are still treated like minors in other aspects of society.
“In Texas, we’re talking about 23,000 kids a year who are arrested as 17-year-olds,” said Democratic State Rep. Gene Wu, one of the bill’s authors. “If those kids are given a second chance. Let them make their life mistakes and not have a minor drug possession, a petty theft, just ruin their entire lives.“
Opponents worry about the overall cost and safety of adding older teens into the juvenile justice system.
Texas is one of six states that treat 17-year-olds as adults in criminal cases.