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Economic Costs and Benefits of Raise the Age Legislation in Missouri

The problem of juvenile crime, punishment, and rehabilitation is a complicated question. It is well known that juveniles do not have the same patterns of thought, self-control, and emotional maturity that adults have. When this is combined with the fact that juveniles that commit crimes have a greater chance of being successfully rehabilitated into productive members of society than adults who commit crimes, the answer to the question grows in importance. To this end, currently 45 states have limited the ability of persons under the age of 18 to be committed to adult prisons for their crimes. This legislation is colloquially known as ‘Raise the Age’. It should be noted that Raise the Age legislation does not prohibit juveniles from being committed to the adult penal system for punishment—especially for particularly heinous crimes such as murder and rape. It simply legislates that the juvenile justice system be allowed to adjudicate their cases. This study examines the economic costs and benefits of the proposed Raise the Age legislation in Missouri.