CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NY HAILS GOVERNOR’S EXECUTIVE ACTION ON YOUTH PARDONS

Print Friendly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Annette Warren-Dickerson, Communications Director, adickerson@correctionalassociation.org;

646-539-5911

Soffiyah Elijah, Executive Director, selijah@correctionalassociation.org

617-905-7623

(December 21, 2015, New York, NY): The Correctional Association of New York (CA) enthusiastically supports Governor Cuomo’s decision to use his executive power to address some of the harms done to New York’s children by saddling them with the collateral consequences of a criminal conviction. This is an extremely significant milestone for New York.

 The State Legislature now has the opportunity in the upcoming legislative session to go even further and raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 for all young people accused of a crime. Such a step would signal recognition of the proven scientific research that the human brain does not fully develop until the mid to late twenties. As Connecticut considers raising the age to 21, New York continues to be one of only two states to automatically prosecute all 16 and 17 year olds as adults. It is time for New York to treat its children as children.

 Soffiyah Elijah, CA Executive Director, and Co-Chair of the Governor’s Commission on Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice, stated, “I am delighted for the thousands of people who will benefit from the Governor’s action. Hopefully 2016 will be the year that New York will decide to catch-up with and surpass the rest of the country by adopting comprehensive reforms of its youth justice system.”

 Anjie Wadlington, who was incarcerated as a youth at 17, said, “When I was released at the age of 20, I knew that going back into the world would be different. I wanted to save lives, but quickly realized that it was not an option for me. My parole officer informed that nursing or medical assistant was not open to me because of my previous drug offenses.”

 “Those of us who were convicted as adolescents often have limited options upon release because of mistakes we made as children, Ms. Wadlington continued.   “Ten years after my conviction I haven’t gotten into trouble, I work, and I am a youth justice advocate. These pardons have the potential to create more opportunities for young people who are working to rebuild their futures.”

 To learn more about the CA’s Raise the Age Campaign, visit http://www.correctionalassociation.org/cmp/raise-the-age-home-page