RAISE THE AGE FACTS
RAISE THE AGE IS GOOD FISCAL POLICY AND PROMOTES PUBLIC SAFETY. “Raise the Age” has proven to be good fiscal and public safety policy. Concerns about large numbers of older juveniles and their associated costs straining juvenile justice systems have not come to pass, and juvenile crime has continued to decline. Youth under 18 in the adult system are much more likely to commit suicide or to be the victims of physical and emotional abuse such as sexual assault, and youth prosecuted in the adult system are 34% more likely to recidivate and with more violent offenses.
ARRESTS OF GEORGIA YOUTH UNDER 18 HAS FALLEN 53%. In the past 10 years, arrests of Georgia’s youth under the age of 18 has decreased by 53%, similar to the national average.
GEORGIA’S DJJ BUDGET HAS INCREASED DESPITE DECREASE IN ARRESTS AND REFERRALS. Declines in youth offending have been so large that there were fewer youth referred to juvenile and adult courts in 2017 than referrals to juvenile court alone in 2013. Despite these declines, the budgets for the Department of Juvenile Justice increased by almost $40 million during those fiscal years.
17-YEAR OLD OFFENDING IS MOSTLY LOW-LEVEL. According to data from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, 90% of 17-year old arrests are for non-violent offenses. Many of these youth will simply be referred to pre-trial diversion to get access to needed services, or will have a light touch with the court system when returning to juvenile court. Youth with serious and violent charges will still fall under Georgia’s transfer and direct file laws, allowing for adult prosecution for the set of serious offenses in Georgia’s Seven Deadly Sins laws.
FACT SHEETS ON RAISE THE AGE