Act Now: Parents know 17-year olds are not adults
Texas kids are like most other American youth, but they don't enjoy the same protections from the justice system.
Texas is one of six states which still treat 17-year olds as adults for purposes of criminal prosecution. Though they cannot vote, buy cigarettes, or join the military without parental consent, under Texas law they are prosecuted as adults.
Most Texans are unaware of this quirk in state law, and generally only find out about it if their high-school junior son gets arrested. Too often, youth end up with a felony tag before they even get out of high-school, hurting their chances to get housing and a job going forward.
Seventeen year olds in adult jails or prisons risk being mistreated and abused by other inmates and are at much greater risk of suicide, creating civil liability for county taxpayers. In January, 17-year old Emmanuel Akueir hanged himself in the Fort Bend County Jail, but in 44 other states he would have been considered a juvenile until he was 18 years old and never locked up in an adult facility. Such examples highlight why the Sheriffs Association has joined the Texas PTA and the Texas Public Policy Fountation to endorse raising the age to 18 because they want to keep protect these kids and keep them out of their jails.
Help us protect Texas kids from suffering lifelong consequences for youthful mistakes.Texas can join the rest of the nation in treating kids like kids, but legislators need to hear from you now. Learn more about this issue!