17-year-olds who commit felonies will be charged as adults under legislation heading to the governor’s desk

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Heading to the governor’s desk is a bill that would put 17-year-olds who commit felonies in the adult criminal justice system. The legislation repeals a law that went into effect in 2019 that currently has 17-year-olds who commit non-violent crimes prosecuted as juveniles. But Bossier City Representative Raymond Crews says 17-year-olds are becoming more violent.

“56% of all juvenile murders since Raise the Age have been committed by 17-year-olds that shows you right there it’s a different segment of society,” said Crews.

The bill passed on a 74-26 vote.

Marksville Representative Daryl Deshotel says juvenile detention facilities has been plagued with problems since 17-year-olds have been added to the population. He knows because he as one in his district.

“It’s about the kids that are escaping, it’s about the guards that are getting beat up, broken legs, sent to hospitals,” said Deshotel.

The 26 no votes came from Democrats. Baton Rouge Representative Denise Marcelle says the legislation will not provide any help for a 17-year-old who could use some rehabilitation.

“Shame on Louisiana, shame on you, not one thing in this bill does anything for rehabilitation. not one single thing,” said Marcelle.

LaPlace Representative Sylvia Taylor is also a practicing attorney and doesn’t like the idea of sending 17-year-olds to an adult prison.

“Everyone here is going to suffer from the effects of continuing to lock them up, don’t give them any hope, don’t do anything for them to make them want to be better,” said Taylor.

The bill heads to the governor’s desk and is expected to be signed into law.

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