Protect Missouri Youth and Oppose New Felony Offenses
  1. United States
  2. Mo.
  3. Letter

Protect Missouri Youth and Oppose New Felony Offenses

To: Gov. Parson, Sen. Washington, Rep. Barnes

From: A verified voter in Raytown, MO

February 25

I urge you to oppose HB1693 (Sparks), SB1115 (Schroer), and HB1659 (Roberts), which would create a new felony offense of using a minor to commit a crime, in the event that someone aged 18 or older intentionally “encourages, aids, or uses” a minor to commit a crime to avoid detection or apprehension. These bills do not take the context of youthful offenders into consideration. Young people tend to associate primarily with other young people, meaning that an 18 or 19 year old hanging out with a 17 year old classmate could be convicted of this charge, if the group decided to engage in any kind of criminal activity. There is ample data that shows the relationship between age and criminal activity, indicating that the adolescent brain does not reach maturity until the mid to late 20s. While adults who have reached full brain development use the prefrontal cortex to make decisions, adolescents and young adults use the amygdala, which is responsible for impulsivity and failure to appreciate risks. These bills should take this important context into consideration, and amend the language to apply only to older individuals- for example, 22 and older, an age threshold that has been proposed in regards to other bills. For these reasons, I urge you to oppose these bills as they are currently written. Thank you for your time and consideration of this matter.

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