DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado could be changing its juvenile prosecution laws, joining a small share of states with juvenile prosecution limits in the preteens.
The Colorado House approved a bill in April that would raise the minimum age of criminal prosecution from 10 years old to 13 years old, a minimum age held by two other states and the highest in the U.S. The bill, HB 1249, passed its first committee and will be reviewed next by the appropriations committee.
The bill tracks with a national push in many states to raise juvenile prosecution limits, or at very least to set them. Half of U.S. states — 24 — have no minimum age for criminal prosecution at all, according to the National Juvenile Justice Network, which advocates that all states set a minimum prosecution age of 14 years old.
Colorado is currently one of 16 states in which the minimum age for criminal prosecution is 10 years old. The others include Arkansas, Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Only a handful of states have minimum prosecution ages higher than 10 years old.
Nebraska’s age of criminal responsibility is 11 years old. In California, Massachusetts, Utah, Delaware and New York, the age is 12 years old. Only two states — New Hampshire and Maryland — have a minimum prosecution age of 13 years old.