'Raise the Age' passes, but years remain to phase-in changes
BATON ROUGE - Juvenile justice advocates have hailed Louisiana's lawmakers for agreeing to raise the state's adult prosecution age. But the switchover won't happen as soon as Gov. John Bel Edwards signs the bill into law.
Instead, 17-year-old offenders will be phased into the juvenile justice system over several years, completely by 2020.
After a significant planning stage, Louisiana's criminal justice system will begin transitioning to handle cases for minors charged with non-violent crimes on July 1, 2018. All other juvenile offenders will join two years later.
District attorneys, though, can still charge 17-year-olds as adults for serious crimes at any time.
Edwards supports the bill as part of his legislative package and is expected to sign the "Raise the Age" provision into law next week.