Should Massachusetts Prosecute 17-Year-Olds as Adults?

The John Adams Courthouse in Boston is home to the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court.

Massachusetts is currently one of only 11 states that tries 17-year-olds as adults. A bill passed this week by the state’s House of Representatives would make these teenagers juvenile defenders, according to a report by 7News Boston. That will put the commonwealth in line with most other states, where adult court is reserved for individuals 18 and older.

The bill still allows the state to try 17-year-olds as adults in serious cases, like murders. But proponents hope the change will reduce cases of rape in the state’s prison system by keeping younger inmates away from older, stronger convicts. 

What do you think? Are we getting too soft on younger defendants? Or is this a justified, compassionate change to protect teenagers? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

South End Patch