‘Raise the Age’ effort fails; youth can still be prosecuted and tried as adults

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From The Legislative Gazette:

To the dismay of the Raise the Age NY Campaign and its supporters, lawmakers did not reach an agreement on changing the age of criminal responsibility in New York.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had prioritized raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York to 18, mentioning it in his State of the State Address and it was also a goal of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus in the Legislature.

The Raise the Age legislation (A.02774/S.01019), sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph Lentol, D-Williamsburg, and Sen. Velmanette Montgomery, D-Brooklyn, seeks to push the age of criminal responsibility from 16 and 17 to age 18, meaning that most crimes committed by people in this age group would be treated as juvenile offenses, excluding some violent crimes. New York and North Carolina are the only two states that still prosecute 16-and 17-year-olds as adults, even for non-violent crimes.

“We did not reach an agreement on something called Raise the Age which is a proposal that I had made in the State of the State. The executive will on its own raise the age of people in state prison,” Cuomo said. “Right now 16- and 17-year olds are going to state prisons and that, I believe, is an intolerable situation. So by executive action we will take 16-and 17-year olds out of state prisons and put them in separate facilities which will be designed and managed by the Department of Corrections and OCFS.”

Raise the Age NY, a public awareness campaign comprised of advocates, youth, parents and law enforcement which is backed by more than 115 state and federal advocacy groups, seeks to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 18.

To read more of this article by Jackie Davis, click here.