October 1, 2015
President Obama today issued a proclamation declaring October “National Youth Justice Awareness” month. In it, he recognizes what the Children’s Defense Fund-New York, Citizens’ Committee for Children and a broad coalition of New Yorkers know to be true: “Involvement in the justice system — even as a minor, and even if it does not result in a finding of guilt, delinquency, or conviction — can significantly impede a person’s ability to pursue a higher education, obtain a loan, find employment, or secure quality housing…. These children are our Nation’s future — yet most of them were afforded no margin of error after making a mistake.”
President Obama points out that “Nine States prosecute all 17-year-olds as adults regardless of the crime committed, including two States that do the same for 16-year-olds.”
“Shamefully, New York is one of the two states (North Carolina being the other), that automatically treat 16 and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system,” said Melanie Hartzog, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-New York and Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children. “The safety of our communities, as well as the well-being of children hurt by our criminal justice system depend, upon the swift enactment of comprehensive youth justice reform that treats children appropriately.”
While Governor Cuomo included funding and a framework to Raise the Age in his executive budget –and included it as a legislative priority this past year – the legislature did not pass legislation at the end of the 2015 session. New York has 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.
Raising the Age results in better outcomes for youth:
Raising the age results in safer communities:
It’s time to Raise the Age, New York.
The Children’s Defense Fund-New York and Citizens’ Committee for Children lead the Raise the Age-New York campaign.
To read President Obama’s Proclamation click here.
To learn more about Raise the Age click here.
– See more at: http://www.cdfny.org/newsroom/press-releases/president-obama-declares.html#sthash.YM53vTbo.dpuf