Testimony to the House Committee on Juvenile Justice and Family Issues
When teenagers make mistakes, Texas should hold them accountable in a way that reduces crime, saves money, keeps the youth safe, and helps them turn their lives around to become productive citizens. Currently in Texas, 17-year-olds cannot vote, serve on a jury, or buy cigarettes, alcohol, or lottery tickets. Seventeen-year-olds cannot get married, join the military, or get a tattoo without their parents’ permission. However, as high school juniors and seniors, 17-year-olds are considered adults in the justice system. No matter how minor their mistake, they end up in adult courtrooms, adult jails and prisons, and after all is said and done, with an adult criminal record.