Law enforcement are backing ‘raise the age’ initiative
From Legislative Gazette:
The fight to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York and protect youth from ruining their lives with one mistake continues as support from advocates for the governor’s proposal grows stronger.
“It’s not right. It’s not fair. We must raise the age,” said Dennis R. Hawkins, executive director of the Fund for Modern Courts.
Under the governor’s proposal, the age of automatic adult criminal responsibility would rise from 16 to 17 in 2017, and then from 17 to 18 in 2018, relieving New York as one of only two states who have yet to raise the age.
“We don’t allow 16- and 17-year-olds to swim in hotel pools, or smoke cigarettes, or drink alcohol, or be drafted,” said Soffiyah Elijah, executive director of the Correctional Association of New York, who is against treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal justice when they are not considered adults under other restrictions.
Elijah recalled a visit to Southport Correctional Facility where she encountered a 26-year-old man in solitary confinement, suffering from a mental illness, who has been incarcerated for 10 years, 8 of which was spent in solitary confinement.
Local jails currently house 800 inmates under the age of 18. In prison, minors are five times more likely to be sexually assaulted and 8 times more likely to commit suicide, according to Elijah. Eighty-two percent of minors in prison are of color.
According to Madison County Sheriff Alan Riley, children are targeted by adults in prison and although prison staff tries to separate children from adults they are unable to separate them completely.
“You’re on your own…” notes Joe Mancini, director of Probation in Schenectady County, referring to youth who are incarcerated.
CA Applauds Commitment to Raise the Age in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State Address, Laments No Mention of Racism, Violence, and Abuse in NYS Prisons
(January 9, 2016) New York, NY: The Correctional Association of New York roundly applauds the continued commitment of Governor Andrew Cuomo to raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York, ending the prosecution and incarceration of 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. It is now up to the members of both parties in the NYS Legislature to do their duty to make this a reality. In spite of the Governor’s assertion that the "nation looks to NY to find a way up," we actually fall behind 48 other states, along with North Carolina, by continuing to treat children as adults in the criminal legal system. New York must Raise the Age of criminal responsibility this legislative session. Read More
New York remains one of only 2 states in the nation treating 16 and 17 year-olds as something they are not — adults— in our criminal justice system. This archaic approach increases the likelihood of more crime, more severe crime, and seriously damages the education, employment and long-term life prospects of our youth, particularly the [...]Read More
Prison Monitoring Reports
Attica Correctional Facility, a 2,000-bed maximum security prison in western New York, continues to operate as a symbolic and real epicenter of state violence and abuse of incarcerated persons in the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) state prison system 43 years after the 1971 prison uprising and violent suppression by state authorities. The [...]Read More
Gabrielle Horowitz-Prisco, director of the Correctional Association's Juvenile Justice Project, testified before the New York State Legislature on the Governor’s proposed budget for 2013-2014.Read More