Raise the Age NY? Juvenile Justice Coalition Explores Options

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On Thursday, October 4, the Juvenile Justice Coalition held an open forum, From Connecticut to New York? A Look at Raising the Age of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction, at the Open Society Institute in Manhattan. New York is one of only two states that currently try and sentence 16- and 17-year-olds as adults (the other is North Carolina). Until recently, Connecticut was the third. At the forum, Abby Anderson and Christine Rapillo, leaders in the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance’s “Raise the Age CT” campaign, shared their experiences rallying support for statewide legislation that in 2010 will return 16- and 17-year-old young people convicted of crimes in Connecticut to the juvenile justice system. Mishi Faruqee, Director of the Juvenile Justice Project at the CA, along with New York juvenile justice experts Nancy Ginsberg (Legal Aid Society), Theresa Portelli (Office of Children and Family Services), and Jackie Deane (Juvenile Rights Project/Legal Aid Society), discussed the ramifications of taking up a similar campaign in New York. While all agreed that the age should be raised, the consequences of moving additional youth into New York’s problematic juvenile justice system were among panelists’ concerns. Attendees, including youth organizers from the CA’s Each One, Teach One program, addressed the panel and voiced perspectives and opinions highlighting the urgency of this issue.