Ga. bills would raise age for adult crimes, use inmate records in parole cases

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Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 12:48 PM EST
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ATLANTA (AP) — The age for charging most people with adult crimes would rise from 17 to 18 in Georgia under a bill moving forward in the state House.

The House Juvenile Justice Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to approve House Bill 272, sending it to the full House. House Juvenile Justice Committee Chairman Mandi Ballinger cites testimony from experts that teen brains are developing and lack the impulse control usually seen in older people.

Advocates say that means 17-year-olds should go to juvenile courts.

Young people aged 17 would still be charged as adults for certain violent crimes just as those ages 13 to 16 already are in Georgia.

Also in the news ...

  • Georgia lawmakers want to give district attorneys access to prisoner disciplinary records to help the prosecutors oppose parole requests. The House voted 99-66 on Thursday to pass House Bill 168, sending it to the Senate for more debate. Republican Rep. Jesse Petrea of Savannah says the measure is needed because some people are being released who have disciplinary records showing they are a risk. He says knowing how someone behaved in prison is a good guide to whether they’re ready for release. But Democratic Rep. Josh McLaurin of Sandy Springs says hearings on the bill raised questions. He says testimony showed the prison system has given the state parole board access to every inmate’s files, despite lacking legal authority.

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