(TargetLiberty.org) – The state of California is at it again with a new bill that is sure to spark discussion from all sides.
The gist of Senate Bill 889 (SB 889) is that it changes the minimum age a juvenile can be charged as an adult from 18 to 21.
Some see this as a logical move. Research shows that our brains continue developing until we’re 24 years old, especially the region involving our decision-making capabilities. The argument goes that, since our decision-making processes continue to develop until 24, 18 seems too young to try someone as an adult. Some probation officers agree that teenagers aren’t capable of making decisions that are as rational as a fully-grown adult.
The bill may not be purely cloaked with intentions to protect California’s youth, however.
Juvenile halls have emptied over the years with youth crime steadily dropping. SB 889 is seen by some as more of a job-saving measure than a policy to save teenagers from strict punishments. Some juvenile halls are closing down because they’re no longer needed in certain areas of California.
State-held juvenile criminal offenders are among the most vulnerable and needy demographics. Getting into trouble with the law at an early age is often indicative of serious mental health issues and the need for rehabilitation. Still, it remains to be seen how sincere California legislators are with their intentions behind this bill.
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