GOVERNOR’S JUVENILE JUSTICE COMMISSION
JIM DOYLE, GOVERNOR
DEIRDRE GARTON, CHAIR
TASHA JENKINS, VICE CHAIR
WISCONSIN OFFICE OF JUSTICE ASSISTANCE
1 S. PINCKNEY STREET SUITE 600, MADISON, WI 53702 (608) 266-3323 FAX: (608) 266-6676
Statement Related to Wisconsin’s Age of Adult Criminal Responsibility
The Governor’s Juvenile Justice Commission supports legislation to adjust the
age of original criminal responsibility to the age of 18 years.
Legislation introduced in the 2007-08 session of the Wisconsin Legislature included language
that would have left existing Chapter 938 statutes intact with the exception of increasing the age
of adult court jurisdiction to age 18. Statutes related to waiver, adult jurisdiction over certain
offenses, and other provisions included in changes made to the 1996 Juvenile Justice code
would remain in effect. That legislation did not pass but became the focal point of considerable
interest in the child welfare and criminal justice communities.
Given the significance and complexity of this issue and the Commission’s role as advisor to the
Governor and Legislature on matters related to juvenile justice, the Commission tasked staff
from the Office of Justice Assistance to provide additional information to the Commission. This
information was presented in the form of discussion papers, for their consideration at the June
and September, 2008 Commission meetings. Those documents provided Commission
members with information about this issue.
The first Discussion Paper for the June, 2008 meeting included:
Information about state and national efforts and discussions on this issue, including
summaries of the 2008 Legislative Audit Bureau report related to 17-year olds in the
adult system, other state’s efforts/discussions, and national trends related to jurisdiction.
A review of research related to the impact of a lower adult court age on public safety and
recidivism of youthful offenders
A review of r