JUSTICE ADVOCATES BEGIN EXTENDED SLEEP-IN AT THE NY STATE CAPITOL TO URGE LAWMAKERS TO RAISE THE AGE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Annette Warren-Dickerson, Communications Director
Angelo Pinto, Raise the Age Campaign Manager
JUSTICE ADVOCATES BEGIN EXTENDED SLEEP-IN AT THE NY STATE CAPITOL
TO URGE LAWMAKERS TO RAISE THE AGE
Participants vow to remain until the end of the legislative session to pressure
elected officials to stop prosecuting 16- and 17- year-olds as adults
New York, NY (June 6, 2016): Today, advocates from across New York State will begin an extended sleep-in at the State Capitol, timed to coincide with the waning days of the legislative session, in order to push elected officials to pass legislation this year raising the age of criminal responsibility. New York remains one of only two states, along with North Carolina, to continue prosecuting 16-and 17-year-olds as adults.
Juveniles in adult facilities are more likely to suffer sexual, mental and physical abuse, are 36 times more likely to commit suicide than those held in juvenile facilities, and have a higher rate of re-arrest and recidivism.
Billed as #JusticeNeverSleepsRTA, the sleep-in commences on the one-year anniversary of the death of Kalief Browder, a juvenile who was held at an adult jail for three years and subsequently committed suicide after his release. Mr. Browder was subjected to severe physical and psychological abuse while incarcerated, and it is to his memory that the action is being dedicated.
“What justice would look like to me is a day to celebrate Kalief as a representation of all youth tortured and neglected by the failed injustice system that still exists today,” said Akeem Browder, Kalief’s brother. “This should be a day of commemoration to remember the loss we all suffered, especially his brothers and mother.”
Angelo Pinto, manager of the Raise the Age Campaign at the Correctional Assn. of New York (CA), and the main organizer of the sleep-in, said, “We are upon the 1 year anniversary of the death of Kalief Browder who entered the system at 17 and took his life after being released from an adult facility. Pinto goes on: “This is also, regrettably, the two-year anniversary of the NYS legislature having the opportunity to pass Raise the Age legislation and failing to do so. We will be sleeping in to convey to the legislators that another session can’t end with 16-and 17-year-olds in NYS being prosecuted as adults and housed in adult facilities.”
Vivian Nixon, Executive Director of College & Community Fellowship and co-founder of the Education from the Inside Out Coalition, is a supporter of the sleep-in. “If New York State is serious about criminal justice reform, then banning the box so that students returning home can go back to school and achieve their full potential, and raising the age is vital to reducing crime, recidivism, and unnecessary costs to the state.”
“It’s time for New Yorkers to be uncomfortable about young people in adult jails and adult systems,” said Carmen Perez, co-Founder of The Justice League NYC. “It’s time that we New Yorkers demand that our state Raise the Age of criminal responsibility. We proudly join the CA and #JusticeNeverSleepsRTA because no child deserves to sleep another day in an adult jail.”
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