A state lawmaker is optimistic that seventeen year-old offenders may soon be returned to the juvenile justice system. State Senator Lena Taylor reacted to a recent report from the Wisconsin Council on Children & Families , which shows up to seventy percent of seventeen year-olds are reoffending after serving time in adult corrections facilities. Taylor says that high rate of recidivism is because those adult facilities have no programs geared towards youthful offenders. “When you don't have time that can be used productively, you encourage that,” says Taylor. “When time is not used productively, when that's not being done, I think that we promote this kind of recidivism.”
An attempt to reverse the decade old decision to move youth offenders into the adult criminal justice system failed in the last session of the legislature. Taylor is optimistic it can pass eventually. “I'm going to be one those persons that will fight for this,” she says. “We'll create savings, we'll reduce the amount that we spend in corrections, but most importantly, we will gain in human capitol.” Taylor says moving seventeen year old offenders back into the juvenile justice system is not “soft on crime,” because judges and district attorneys will still have the power to make charging decisions.