In 2007, Connecticut is one of only three states to set the age of adulthood at 16 for criminal prosecution – even for minor, non-violent crimes. A coalition of activists, parents, state agency professionals and youth known as the Raise the Age campaign, successfully advocated for a sweeping policy change to return those children to juvenile jurisdiction. Sixteen-year-olds returned to juvenile jurisdiction on January 1, 2010. In 2012, 17-year-olds will also get juvenile status.
Juvenile justice reform is always a tough sell because it is advocacy for people who have little power themselves and who are generally discounted by the rest of society. The success of the Raise the Age Campaign, however, demonstrates that victory is possible. We hope this presentation will be useful to groups working in their own states and nationally.
This digital resource is also an opportunity for us to reflect on the campaign success and identify the best strategies to meet ongoing challenges. While we are thrilled that the age of adulthood has been raised, many challenges remain. We believe the success of Raise the Age has created a climate where we can move forward toward a system that truly puts kids first.