New York State has made significant progress in the fight towards youth justice and implementation of critical reforms brought on by Raise the Age legislation. However, more work is ahead of us to end the criminalization of children and better serve children and youth that come into contact with law enforcement and the court system.
The Governor’s Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2022 proposes continued investments of $250 million for statewide Raise the Age implementation. In addition, the State proposes to close four youth facilities. Shutting down youth facilities is an important step towards improving outcomes for court-involved youth and advancing race equity. However, the proposed budget fails to include a plan to reinvest savings from closures into community and youth development services and proposes to cut critical funding that support court-involved youth
Join CCC and our youth justice partners in ensuring State investments that build on its youth justice reforms and improve racial justice for New York’s youth, including:
Reinvest savings associated with facilities closures (approximately $21 million in operational funding alone) into communities where youth face the most risk for justice system involvement;
Oppose $4 million cuts resulting from consolidating two critical funding streams: Community Optional Preventive Services (COPS) and Supervision and Treatment Services for Juveniles Program (20% reduction); and
Oppose 5% cuts in State funding for costs associated with placement and detention increasing costs on localities.
Finally, to build on New York’s Raise the Age reforms, we encourage State leaders to advance the following pieces of legislation:
Raise the Lower Age of Delinquency to 12 / End the Arrest and Prosecution of Elementary School Children (S4051 Bailey / A4982 Hevesi). Under current law, children as young as 7 years old may be arrested and prosecuted as juvenile delinquents in Family Court. Children under 12 may be subject to police questioning, pretrial detention with older youth, probation, and mandatory confinement. Raising the age from age 7 to 12 would better serve elementary school-age children who come into contact with law enforcement through community-based services.
Strengthen and Expand Youthful Offender Protections Through Age 25 (A3536 O’Donnell) – Based on research on emerging adulthood and brain development, we know that brain development continues into the mid-20s. New York’s Youthful Offender law provides protection for youth under the age of 19 such as record sealing and reduced prison sentences. These important protections are not available at age 19 and above resulting in young adults havinglifelong criminal records that create barriers to education, jobs, and housing for youthful mistakes. New York should strengthen existing protections under the youthful offender law and create a new “Young Adult” status for youth up to age 25.
Write Your State Representatives and Other State Leaders