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Ahead of their important first In-Season Tournament game on Friday, the Celtics drew attention to an issue that was just as important off the court.
Before the game, the Celtics wore shirts that read “Raise the Age.” These shirts were intended to raise awareness for Massachusetts.Increase the age‘bill, which aims to prosecute 18-20 year olds under the juvenile system.
“Before we tip off tonight, I want to draw attention to a bill that we, the Celtics, are advocating for,” Jaylen Brown told a packed TD Garden on Friday evening. “The name of this bill is called the Raise the Age bill. If you would like to know more, please visit Celtics.com/raisetheage learn more.”
On that website, the Celtics cite a statistic showing that adolescent criminals were 34 percent less likely to reoffend when prosecuted as juveniles, compared to those prosecuted as adults. According to Noa Dalzell of Celtics BlogAt 74 percent, young adults in the adult system have the highest recidivism rate of all groups of people prosecuted as such.
“My wife was in criminal justice and she was a probation officer and we saw sometimes how the system can set people back and how it can hold people back and put them in even more difficult situations where they find themselves,” Celtics said. coach Joe Mazzulla told reporters before the game. “And so this bill is important to a lot of people because of what it offers. So I’m grateful to be part of an organization that does that, and the campaign starts tonight, and hopefully people can find out more about it.”
The site insinuates that the juvenile system’s emphasis on rehabilitation (children and adolescents in that system are required to attend school and participate in rehabilitation programs) explains the difference in recidivism rates between young adults tried as juveniles and adults. It also suggests it may explain why juvenile crime has fallen 34 percent since 2013, the year Massachusetts expanded juvenile delinquency to 17-year-olds.
“I think it’s important in general. Not just for the organization, but for humanity,” Mazzulla said. “But I know the Celtics have done a great job raising awareness about this and working on a bill to change that.”
This isn’t the first time the Celtics have advocated for this issue. Brown and former Celtics Grant Williams and Malcolm Brogdon visited the White House in March to discuss a possible national-level pay increase, and fellow Governor Steve Pagliuca testified in support of the Massachusetts bill.
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