Hungarian-born hedge fund manager George Soros is using his money to try to improve lives around the world. While much of his work focuses on international concerns, he actively funds programs working in the United States. One of those programs is the Justice Policy Institute. They are a nonpartisan think tank based in Washington D.C. This group has been actively working to diminish the number of states that automatically try 16 and 17 year olds as adults.
The Teenage Brain
New research suggests that the brains of 16 and 17 year olds are not done developing. Therefore, they are not able to make the same logical choices that adults make on a regular basis. These teens are very susceptible to peer pressure. They often make choices that seem right at the moment only to regret them later on.
Justice Policy Institute on Why Teens Should Not be Tried as Adults
Justice Policy Institute has recently published a report titled Raising the Age: Shifting to a More Effective Juvenile Justice System showing that persecuting teens as children can be done in a safe and cost-effective method. Teen treatment facilities cost approximately $100,000 annually for each teen served. Developing methods to keep teens arrested on nonviolent offenses at home has allowed states to save large amounts of money.
The age was raised to 18 in Connecticut. The result was that teens were less likely to commit additional offenses where they needed to be locked up again. Now, Governor Dan Malloy is asking the legislature to raise the age to 21.
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Teens Taught Better Skills
According to the Justice Policy Institute, the emphasis on helping teens needs to be on helping them with their problem behaviors not on punishing them. One of the most successful programs teaches teens how to be better parents. Another key component of these programs is that teens are required to stay in school rather than being allowed to drop out.
Teens that are taught better skills have better chance of being productive citizens, according to the Justice Policy Institute that is working to make these changes across America. Raising the age is being considered in many different states including New York, Texas and Connecticut.
Why Raising the Age Works
The George Soros’ funded group argues that teens who are put in the adult system are more likely to have a harder time making it in society. Therefore, they are much more likely to re-offend than those who receive proper training. Raising the age reduces court costs, the rate of arrests and lowers the cost.
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