Louisiana has raised the age of adult prosecution, so 17-year-old offenders won’t automatically be treated as adults within a few years.
Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the bill into law Tuesday. At the signing ceremony, the governor said: “This is about not giving up on our children.”
Louisiana has been one of only nine states that automatically route 17-year-olds through the adult criminal justice system when arrested.
The prosecution age change will take time, however.
The juvenile justice system will begin handling 17-year-olds charged with non-violent crimes on July 1, 2018. Offenders charged with more serious or violent crimes, such as rape or armed robbery, will join two years later.
District attorneys can still charge 17-year-olds as adults for serious crimes at any time.
Senate Bill 324: www.legis.la.gov