Update on Raise the Age
The final New York state budget passed on April 1st, 2015 and many key pieces of legislation were absent including raising the age of criminal responsibility. It states that “the Budget acknowledges the importance of raising the age of criminal responsibility by including funding that will be immediately available to local governments to ensure readiness, as well as other funding that will be available upon enactment of legislation to Raise the Age that is expected this legislative session.” A Cuomo spokesmen confirmed that of the “$135 million, $110 million is for upgrading facilities so that younger teens can be held separate from adult defendants, according to the Division of the Budget.” Advocates, including the Children’s Defense Fund and ACLU, are pleading for passage in the Legislature: “By raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18 from 16, New York will not only end its national shame but leapfrog our state into being a leader in promoting effective, humane and scientifically proven juvenile justice policies. New York would join California as one of the first large states to fully remove youth from adult prisons.”
The New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers agrees that “New York has the opportunity to be a nationwide leader for real, lasting, and comprehensive juvenile justice reforms” but they argue that the passing of this legislation will require further conversation and vetting by dozens of agencies. To read more, see here. Also District Attorney’s display concern regarding Cuomo’s juvenile justice reforms, according to this middletown local newspaper.
NPR’s All Things Considered supports raising the age in this piece. It explains that “in the past, prison and criminal justice reform proposals have been blocked by New York’s Republican-controlled State Senate, often with the backing of prosecutors and the state’s prison guard union.”
The Importance of Re-entry and Aftercare
This article highlights the importance of re-entry and aftercare services for ensuring educational advancement, reintegration into the community, and mental and emotional health. To learn more, see here.
The School-to-Prison Pipeline
PBS Thirteen’s Frontline, Locked Up in America series examines the school-to-prison pipeline, which is characterized by “policies that disproportionately rout certain children — primarily blacks and Latinos — out of class and into the juvenile justice system” To read more, click here.