IN BRIEF: Why it’s time to raise the age in New York

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photo(1)Since the late 19th century, New York State has treated 16- and 17-year-olds in the justice system as adults.

Over fifty years ago, as New York State’s legislators created the Family Court, they discussed whether to raise the age at which young people could be tried as adults. Unable to reach consensus, the lawmakers of that era left the age of criminal responsibility at 16. A legislative committee emphasized that the decision was “tentative and subject to change” and urged further study, which did not happen.

It is now past time to revisit that tragic decision. New York State must end the shameful practice of prosecuting children in adult courts and locking children up in adult jails and prisons. We cannot afford any more delay– the lives of children and the safety of communities hang in the balance.

Download a copy of this brief issue summary from the Correctional Association.