WI bill would stop 17-year-old offenders from being treated as adults

Sep 6, 2013

MADISON, WI (AP)--   Non-violent 17-year-old offenders in Wisconsin would no longer be treated as adults in the justice system under a bipartisan proposal in the Legislature. 

The bill unveiled Thursday would reverse a 1996 law that required all 17-year-olds, no matter their offense, to be treated as adults.

Wisconsin is now one of only 11 states where children under the age of 18 are automatically treated as adults. Backers of changing the law say 17-year-olds have a better chance of success by not being treated as adults.

But Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen does not support the change as judges already have discretion in how they handle young offenders.