March 8, 2016
Contact: Kenneth Londono, firstname.lastname@example.org, 646-335-0420
Hundreds of advocates, elected officials, law enforcement experts and members of the Raise the Age NY campaign converged today at a press conference urging legislators to pass legislation in this year’s state budget to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York. New York remains one of only two states in the country where 16 year-olds are automatically charged as adults, which has been shown to increase the chance of re-offending and reduce public safety.
Governor Cuomo included a proposal to raise the age in his 2016-2017 Executive Budget. The proposal holds youth charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies accountable in Family Court and creates a special youth part of the adult Criminal Court to handle the cases of youth charged with violent felonies. A final budget is due by April 1.
“Some members seem to be deliberately mischaracterizing this proposal,” said Samantha Levine, Acting Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund – New York. “Under this legislation, youth who commit misdemeanors and non-violent felonies will be treated Family Court – which has been shown to reduce the likelihood of future crime – while those who commit violent crimes will continue to be treated appropriately. This bill is good for young people and good for public safety.”
“We can no longer tolerate a system that takes young people who may have made a mistake and brands them with a scarlet letter for the rest of their lives. Charging youth as adults actually makes us all less safe,” said Paige Pierce, CEO of Families Together in New York State. “It makes it much more difficult for youth to turn their lives around. Raising the age gives these children a second chance, a chance to build a better future.”
“If New York really wants to be the progressive capital of the country then it should raise the age. New York is one of two states, the other North Carolina, which still charges 16 and 17 year olds as adults,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York. “Research into brain development affirms that adolescents are in fact children and that the human brain is not fully formed until the age of 25. This means they can learn from their mistakes and turn their lives around. It is time to raise the age.
About the Raise the Age NY campaign:
Raise the Age NY is a public awareness campaign that includes national and local advocates, youth, parents, law enforcement and legal representative groups, faith leaders and unions that have come together to increase public awareness of the need to implement a comprehensive approach to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York State so that the legal process responds to all children as children and provides services and placement options that better meet the rehabilitative needs of all children and youth.
New York is one of only two states in the country (the other is North Carolina) that have failed to recognize what research and science have confirmed – adolescents are children, and prosecuting and placing them in the adult criminal justice system doesn’t work for them and doesn’t work for public safety.
In 2013, nearly 34,000 16- and 17-year olds were arrested and faced prosecution in the adult system – the vast majority for non-violent crimes.
Children who are prosecuted as adults are more likely to continue committing crimes in the future. Children who are treated as children are more likely to stay out of jail, and out of the justice system:
Raise the Age NY is a campaign that supports raising the age of criminal responsibility for all children in New York to improve outcomes for children and public safety.
For more information about the Raise the Age campaign, visit www.raisetheageny.com.
Lead group members:
Center for Community Alternatives
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York
Correctional Association of New York
Families Together in New York State
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
Herstory Writers Workshop, Inc.
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
The Children’s Agenda
The Children’s Defense Fund – New York
The Fund for Modern Courts
Westchester Children’s Association
Additional supporters to date:
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Alternatives for Battered Women
American Friends Service Committee (NY)
Arab American Association of NY
Association for Community Living, Inc.
Association of NYS Youth Bureaus
Association to Benefit Children
Bronx Christian Fellowship Church
Bronx Clergy Roundtable
Brooklyn Community Services
Brooklyn Defender Services
Campaign to End the New Jim Crow
Casa Rochester/Monroe County, Inc.
Center for Children’s Initiatives
Center for Popular Democracy
Child Welfare Organizing Project
Citizens Action of New York
City of Glen Cove Youth Bureau
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Coalition for Education Justice
Coalition for Hispanic Children and Families
Coalition for the Homeless
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Commission on the Public’s Health System
Communities United for Police Reform
Community Connections for Youth
Community Service Society
Community Voices for Youth and Families
Dignity in Schools Campaign – New York
Equal Justice Initiative
Faith in New York
Families On The Move of NYC, Inc.
First Corinthian Baptist Church
Good Shepherd Services
Harlem Children’s Zone
Human Services Council
Jewish Child Care Association
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
Latino Justice PRLDEF
Lawyers for Children
Leake &Watts Services, Inc.
Legal Action Center
Legal Aid Society
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Long Island Progressive Coalition
Lutheran Family Health Centers
Make the Road New York
Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.
Montefiore School Health Program
National Association of Social Workers – New York State
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
Neighborhood Family Services Coalition
New York American Academy of Pediatrics, District II
New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, Inc.
New York Center for Juvenile Justice
New York Civil Liberties Union
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Society for Ethical Culture
New York State Coalition for Children’s Mental Health
New York State Coalition for School-Based Health Centers
New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
New York Theological Seminary
NYC Jails Action Coalition
Partnership for After School Education (PASE)
Partnership for the Public Good
Partners in Restorative Initiatives
Save the Kids
SCO Family of Services
Staten Island Council on Child Abuse and Neglect
S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Inc.
The Black Institute
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES)
The Children’s Aid Society
The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc.
The Fortune Society
The Legal Aid Society
The New York Foundling
The Osborne Association
The Partnership For Public Good
The Resolution Plan
Tremont United Methodist Church
United Neighborhood Houses
Unique People Services
Uniting Disabled Individuals, Inc
Urban Health Plan, Inc.
Urban Justice Center
Urban Youth Collaborative
Women’s City Club of New York
Pastor Mike Walrond
William F. Ryan Community Health Network