Raising The Age Of Adult Imprisonment In Louisiana
The Louisiana Legislature recently commissioned a study to learn more about the impacts of changing the age of adult imprisonment. Currently the state treats anyone age 17 and older as an adult where crimes are concerned.
The reason for the study was twofold. To see the impact on human lives of incarcerating 17 year old citizens. The second part was to see if there was a significant impact economically for keeping a 17 year old in the juvenile system.
The study did not take into account violent crimes, but Professor Stephen Phillipi with the LSU Institute for Public Health Justice believes the results of the study showed a significant reason to reconsider incarcerating 17 year old prisoners as adults.
We were looking at the overall impact of what does arresting 17-year-olds look like and what are the outcome for those kids in Louisiana. We're not seeing higher incarceration rates. You don't see higher detention rates, for the most part. Probation caseloads certainly fluctuate a little bit.
The study seemed to indicate that those who were sent to prison at the age of 17 had a substantial likelihood to commit more crimes.
When asked about the economics of holding younger offenders in the juvenile system one year longer Phillipi suggested that some states are already doing that and realizing some significant cost savings.
Connecticut most recently has, just alone looking at the 17-year-old issue, they've projected that they're saving $2 million a year by keeping those kids in the juvenile versus putting them in the adult.
Ultimately the findings of the study supported the idea of not sending 17 year old offenders to adult prisons. In both the human cost and the economic cost the price was determined to be too high.