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Tell us: Should 18- to 20-year-olds be prosecuted as juveniles?

One of the major aims of prosecuting 18, 19 and 20-year-olds as juveniles instead of adults is to lower recidivism rates.

Suffolk County Courthouse. Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Last Tuesday, lawmakers heard testimony supporting a bill that proposes prosecuting those between 18 and 20 years old as juveniles as opposed to adults, CBS News Boston reports.

One of the major aims of prosecuting 18- to 20-year-olds as juveniles is to lower recidivism rates, or the rate of being re-arrested and reincarcerated, according to CBS News Boston.

According to advocacy group Raise the Age MA, the amount of juvenile crime in Massachusetts decreased by 34% when the state raised the juvenile prosecution age to include 17-year-olds in 2013. However, according to CBS News Boston, a 2022 study found when Massachusetts raised the age, recidivism rates for 17-year-olds increased.


Another argument in support of the bill offered by Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell last Tuesday was that the adult brain does not fully develop until around 25 years old.

“The adult brain, especially the prefrontal cortex in particular is not fully developed until age 25 and why this is important is because it has implications for a young person’s impulse control and self-regulation,” Campbell said.

Vermont is the first state to have passed a law raising the juvenile court age above 18 years old, however attempts to pause its implementation have been made.

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