Support grows for keeping teens out of NY prisons

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From North Country Public Radio (NCPR):

Support appears to be growing in Albany, N.Y., for legislation that would keep teenagers out of New York’s adult prisons.

Governor Andrew Cuomo backed the “Raise the Age” campaign. Now, Assembly speaker Carl Heastie, one of the state’s most powerful Democrats, has signed on, along with a growing number of police and prosecutors.

They are responding, in part, to the stories of young people like Charles Nunez. He was 17 years old when he was arrested for carrying a handgun that he said he was trying to sell in Harlem. Nunez was sent to Rikers Island, New York City’s adult prison where he said he was quickly targeted by other inmates. “One night when we were locking in to go to sleep, some dude just like hit me while I was walking toward my cell while they were doing count,” Nunez recalled. “He basically just kind of knocked me out, because I like blacked out.” Nunez said he found himself forced to fight again and again — one group of inmate wanted to steal his boots. Others wanted to take his commissary money.

Anjelique Waddington turned her life around after being sentenced to adult prison at the age of 17. She became a leading advocate for reform.

Anjelique Waddington told a similar story. She was seventeen when she got busted for selling drugs and spent the next year and a half in state women’s prisons, often housed side-by-side with adults. “I had to become violent, I had to become evil,” she said. “I had to become an inmate. I became a statistic, what they wanted me to become [in] the system.” Read the entire article by Brian Mann here.