‘Raise The Age’ Bill Package Would Reduce Sexual Abuse of Minors in Michigan Prisons

May 3, 2019 Abuse and Neglect Attorney
Minors housed with adults in prison are vulnerable to abuse and predation.

Right now in Michigan, a child as young as 13 can be prosecuted as an adult, depending on the seriousness of the crime. Crimes like Arson, Armed Robbery, and First Degree Murder sometimes end with minors behind bars for decades, if not life. But what makes this additionally challenging, is the fact that minors who are prosecuted as adults end up in adult prisons. And as you can imagine, a teen is far more vulnerable to sexual assault and abuse in prison than an adult.

What does the current law say in Michigan?

Current Michigan law requires 17-year-olds to automatically be prosecuted as adults if they break the law. This includes both non- violent and violent offenses. Additionally, prosecutors have the right to decide to charge even younger kids as adults if they believe the case calls for it. However, there is a slowly rising backlash here in Michigan, against our state’s laws that allow charging minors as adults. More and more people are speaking out against it, and now legislators are getting on board as well.

What are the proposed changes?

In February of 2018, Senate Bills 92, 95, and 102  were introduced, sponsored by Oakland County‘s Helaine Zack, D-Huntington Woods. The bills are part of a larger package of “Raise the Age” bills working their way through the senate right now. So far the package has received wide bipartisan support, as it not only aims to raise the age at which people can be prosecuted as adults to 18, but would also keep juveniles out of adult jails and prisons. And that right there is the issue we want to address here.

Minors are at greater risk of sexual abuse in adult prisons.

A report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that one in ten detained youth are held in adult facilities in the U.S. There. Locked up among a single-sex adult population, they are of all incarcerated people, at the highest risk of sexual abuse. According to a study done on incarcerated juveniles, five times as many youth held in adult prisons answered yes to the question “has anyone attempted to sexually attack or rape you” than those held in juvenile institutions.

Sexual abuse has long lasting consequences in children’s lives.

The effects of sexual abuse in children are both short and long term, with behavioral and psychological problems arising almost immediately after the abuse first takes place, and often lasting for the victim’s entire lifetime. In Michigan, Child Sexual Abuse is often charged not as child abuse, but rather as a sex crime. This can mean very specific consequences, like being required to register as a sex offender, and life-long prison sentences.

Being accused of sexually abusing a child is no joke in Michigan!

Being accused of sexually abusing or assaulting a child is one of the most horrific and frightening accusations a person could face. Sex crimes are considered to be some of the worst crimes a person can commit, and when the alleged victims are children, the media and general public can be very quick to judge, and very harsh in their treatment. So if you’ve been accused of sexual abuse, call 866 766 5245. The experienced child abuse defense attorneys at The Kronzek Firm can help!