The Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee voted to advance HB 1381 today, which YSRP hopes will usher in a more humane era of support and care for youth involved in the criminal legal system.
“Some young people who are 18 or older [didn’t] have the opportunity to vote on Tuesday. Some youth will never have the opportunity to cast a ballot. These youth have lost the right to vote even before they were granted it. Who are these young people? They are among the estimated 250,000 youth under 18 who are prosecuted in adult criminal courts, instead of juvenile courts, every year. In nearly half the states, there is no minimum age at which a youth can be tried in adult courts, and if convicted of a felony offense, they won’t get the chance to vote for a long time, if ever, in most states.” Why? According to the Sentencing Project, almost every state (except Maine and Vermont) restricts the right to vote for individuals with felony convictions, and youth under 18 with felony convictions in adult criminal court are no exception. These youth are not old enough to vote. Yet, they are old enough to be tried, incarcerated and sentenced in adult court. Continue reading more at Juvenile Justice Exchange.