LTE: Raise the Age Of Criminal Responsibility In NY State
From Times Union :
“Beaten… to the ground,” Jan. 10, exposes a serious ongoing human and children’s rights crisis: The culture of brutality and violence in New York state prisons. The Correctional Association has consistently found the system is rife with abuses similar to the horror endured by Matthew Thornton at Greene Correctional Facility.
Notably, Greene has one of the highest concentrations of young people in any state prison. It also ranked as one of the worst prisons we visited on almost all indicators of safety and alleged physical abuse by security staff. Worse still, 97 percent of the people incarcerated at Greene who we surveyed reported young people face more abuse in the prison. This includes staff physical abuse, intimidation, racial and verbal harassment, retaliation, and use of solitary confinement. It is a disgrace and blight on our state that we entrust children to the care of a system that inflicts what would be considered child abuse if perpetrated by a parent.
Moreover, many of these youth will return to our communities scarred and arguably in much worse condition than when they first entered the system. For the safety of the public, and the safety and rehabilitative needs of incarcerated people, our state policy-makers must enact policies to stop the systemic abuse, hold staff accountable, and pass comprehensive reform to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 in New York state.
New York City
Director, Juvenile Justice Project
Correctional Association of New York
Original article from Times Union
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