Justice Scale

Raise the Age legislation has broad support nationally.



“Juvenile courts should have original jurisdiction over youth under the age 18 for matters involving delinquent behavior.  Youth under the age of 18 should not be automatically transferred to the jurisdiction of the adult court based solely on their age. Instead, juvenile court judges who are trained and equipped to assess the individual needs of youth should decide whether the youth can be rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system or whether public safety requires the youth to be transferred to the adult criminal justice system.  There should be a strong presumption that juvenile courts have original and exclusive jurisdiction over youth under the age of 18 unless evidence to the contrary is presented to the court by the prosecuting attorney."



“Decades of research and the U.S. Supreme Court have confirmed that youth are neurologically, socially, and developmentally different from adults, and therefore are more likely to be rehabilitated by developmentally appropriate treatment and intervention. The juvenile justice system was developed to address the specific behavioral, developmental, and mental health needs of youth are therefore better equipped to hold and treat them after an offense has been committed. We support efforts that grant juvenile courts original and exclusive jurisdiction over cases involving youth under the age of 18, unless there is evidence, reviewed by a judge, that rebuts the presumption that a youth can be safely rehabilitated in the juvenile system."



“The NCJFCJ recognizes the critical role of the judge and judicial leadership in developing juvenile and family courts that recognize the developmental differences between youth and adults….The NCJFCJ supports integrating applicable principles identified and supported by adolescent brain development, including sentencing and disposition options for juveniles, into juvenile and family courts."



“NACo supports the reform of state laws that inappropriately send far too many youth under the age of 18, including first-time and non-violent offenders into the adult criminal justice system.”


“Current research confirms that the portion of the brain that controls and suppresses impulses, and is critical to good judgment and decision-making, is not fully developed in youth under age 18. Youth have difficulty thinking of consequences under stress and managing powerful impulses without adult help. Therefore, they should not be viewed as acting with the level of moral culpability that characterizes adult criminal conduct….”

Find Additional National Policy Statements Here