October 1, 2018 – Today, as Raise the Age legislation goes into effect across New York State, the Raise the Age coalition recognizes the years of ground-breaking work of hundreds of diverse individuals and organizations, including formerly incarcerated youth and their families, child advocates, service providers, faith leaders, legal services groups, and unions, who worked to make this day a reality. We celebrate our shared victory to raise the age of juvenile accountability in New York State, to require parents be notified of their adolescent’s arrest, to process youth in courts intended to meet their developmental needs, to house youth in settings that keep them safe, and to permit more young people to move forward without the burden of adult criminal records. We are proud that our work together has transformed the juvenile justice system for thousands of youth and families throughout New York State.
We aren’t done yet. In the year ahead, the Raise the Age-New York Campaign will advocate for RTA to be implemented with fidelity to its principles while we continue to forge the path for comprehensive juvenile justice reform. Our priorities include:
- Starting as many cases of 16- and 17-year-olds in Family Court as possible.
- Ensuring that when 16 and 17 year olds must be detained or otherwise incarcerated, they are held in juvenile facilities without adult corrections involvement or oversight.
- Limiting the collateral consequences of court involvement by expanding access to youthful offender (YO) status and raising the YO eligibility to youth under 21.
- Increasing support for prevention and diversion services that keep youth in their communities rather than incarceration.
- Demanding State support for Close to Home.
- Raising the lower age of juvenile delinquency from age 7 to age 12.
These reforms are necessary to help meet the promise of Raise the Age: recognizing that adolescents are children, and prosecuting and placing them in the adult criminal justice system doesn’t work for them and doesn’t make communities safer. It is critical for New York to ensure that youth involved in the criminal justice system have access to court processes, as well as services and placement options that are developmentally appropriate.
Please watch our multi-voice video series to learn more about what’s in the law, and what you can do.