CA applauds Cuomo’s youth commission reform recommendations, hails commitment to youth justice

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From CA Press Release:

(New York, NY) January 19, 2015 – The Correctional Association of New York (CA), the state’s oldest criminal justice reform organization, released the following statement in response to the recommendations issued today by the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice:

The CA congratulates and thanks the Commission for its outstanding and courageous hard work. Its recommendations are evidence of the seriousness with which the Commission approached its mission, and New York State can now create policy based on common sense, care, and compassion for its children.

J. Soffiyah Elijah, the Executive Director of the CA and a Co-Chair of the Commission said, “Today, as we celebrate the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we embrace the potential for these recommendations to further bend the arc of the moral universe closer towards justice for our children. This comprehensive package of meaningful changes in juvenile justice will catapult New York State into being a leader in the nation in the arena of youth justice reform. It will enable us to provide positive outcomes and opportunities for all of the youth of our state, and ensure public safety at the same time.”

The Commission, announced by Governor Cuomo in early 2014, was tasked with providing a blueprint for raising the age of criminal responsibility (the age at which youth are treated as adults in the justice system) and other reforms aimed at improving youth outcomes and public safety. The CA believes they have accomplished that task with distinction and wisdom. Among the most significant and impactful of the Commission’s recommendations are:

  • Raise the age of criminal responsibility to age 18
  • Remove and keep minors from adult jails and prisons
  • Raise the minimum age of juvenile jurisdiction from age 7 to 12
  • Invest in interventions that keep kids out of trouble

Currently, New York is one of only two states in the country that prosecutes all 16-17-year-olds charged with a crime in the adult criminal justice system, regardless of the severity of their alleged crime. Additionally, 16 and 17-year-olds detained or incarcerated via a criminal court order are confined in adult prisons and jails.  (Those with “Juvenile Offender” status are confined in youth facilities until at least 18.)

“With the implementation of the Commission’s ‘raise the age’ recommendations, New York can finally move from last place to national leader,” commented Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, Director of the CA’s Juvenile Justice Project. “These recommendations are based in what science tells us reduces crime and helps young people, and all New Yorkers will reap the benefits of new laws driven by this knowledge.”

To review the complete detailed list of Commission recommendations visit the Governor’s website.