Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility in New York State
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New York State is one of only two states in the U.S. that tries 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, despite scientific studies showing that adult prisons are an inappropriate place for our youth. Raise the Age New York is a broad based, statewide movement with the goal of changing the law. We demand that our governor and elected officials immediately take action to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18, providing 16- and 17-year-olds alternative solutions to the adult prison system.
We, the undersigned, urge our leaders to amend the law immediately, in the following ways:
● Raise the overall age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18, and stop the placement of youth who are 16 or 17 in an adult jail or prison.
● Ensure parental notification upon the arrest of a minor under 18, and ensure all 16- and 17-year-olds are interviewed using age-appropriate procedures, including parental involvement prior to waiving Miranda rights.
● Seal records for all convictions of youth under age 18 and expand Youthful Offender status to age 21.
● Increase investments in the front-end diversion services that keep youth in their communities instead of prison.
●Originate as many cases as possible involving minors in Family Court; create Youth Parts in adult court for remaining cases, and apply the Family Court Act to as many as possible, regardless of which courthouse the case is heard in.
● Raise the lower age of juvenile delinquency from age 7 to age 12 (except for homicide offenses, which should be raised to 10).
These alternatives to detention, placement, and incarceration are less expensive to implement and more effective at reducing recidivism. They also better address the collateral consequences of court involvement at a young age and help youth become successful adults.
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