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House Panel Votes To Raise Juvenile Criminal Age To 18

AUSTIN — A proposal to change the state’s definition of who is considered an adult in the criminal justice system is on its way to the Texas House.

The bill to classify 17-year-olds as juveniles, could yet be stymied by Democratic Sen. John Whitmire. He oversees criminal justice issues in the Senate, and has said he's opposed to raising the age.

But many others support raising it to 18.

On Wednesday, a House committee approved Democratic Rep. Harold Dutton’s bill to the House. If it clears that chamber, it would go to Whitmire’s committee and then possibly on to the full Senate.

Research indicates that youths are less likely to reoffend if they are funneled into the therapy-rich juvenile system. Dutton said Whitmire told him “he’d listen,” if the bill passed House committee.

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