An advocacy group is pushing a bill that would increase the age of people tried in court as adults to 18 years.
KOLR-TV reports that Missouri is one of seven states that treat 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal-justice system. A group called the "Raise the Age Coalition" has been pushing for a change.
Vivian Murphy is the former director of the Missouri Juvenile Justice Association. She says science has proved teenagers' brains still are developing, and that that putting them in with adult inmates makes them more likely to re-offend.
Critics say the bill doesn't include additional state funding to hire more juvenile officers.
The House bill could be heard before the end of the legislative session. A similar bill in the Senate has been stuck in committee.