N.H. House votes to raise juvenile age to 18 for most crimes

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The New Hampshire House wants to reverse a 12-year-old law and again treat 17-year-olds as delinquents, not adult criminals.

The House voted 243-93 yesterday to have its budget committee review the change for possible financial implications to the state before taking a final vote.

Violent crimes committed by teenagers in New Hampshire and elsewhere spurred lawmakers to begin treating 17-year-olds as adults in 1996. The House vote would raise the age to 18 again, if the Senate and governor concur.

The change would mean that crimes committed by 17-year-olds no longer would become part of their adult criminal records. The teens would be supervised by juvenile probation and parole officers and, if incarcerated, sent to the youth reformatory, not county jails or state prison.

Prosecutors could still ask a judge to certify a 17-year-old as an adult for major crimes.

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