Seventeen-year-old Wisconsinites cannot vote. That's because they are not adults.
Wisconsin has different rules for children and adults. And those different rules extend beyond the ballot box.
Seventeen-year-old Wisconsinites cannot buy a pack of cigarettes. That's because they are not adults.
Seventeen-year-old Wisconsinites cannot buy a can of beer. That's because they are not adults.
But 17-year-old Wisconsinites who break the law can — and are — tried as adults.
Back in the mid-1990s, Wisconsin scrapped sensible criminal justice laws and replaced them with a mistaken approach that tosses children into the adult criminal justice system. That means that a mistake made by a teenager can mark that individual for life.
That's not just wrong, it's absurd.
And this flawed law ought to be reversed.
The Legislature is considering a proposal to return to the wiser way of doing things.
Under the bipartisan proposal, adults would be tried as adults. Children would be tried as children.
That's the way it should be.
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