New York has remained draconian as it relates to Juvenile Justice Reform. To be one of two states in the nation to prosecute children as young as 13 as adults in criminal courts.
Surrounding states New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut have long changed criminal responsibilities of minors. As law enforcement, we question why such a so-call liberal state like New York has taken so long to raise the age of adult criminal prosecution.It has been reported that Senate Republicans have blocked legislation to “Raise the Age” to 18 since 2012.
Public Safety is not just trying to arrest your way to a safe community. From a legislative perspective, Public Safety recognizes what legislation works and what has failed in rehabilitation, especially our youth who have an opportunity to become future leaders in our communities.
It is time for New York state legislators to pass meaningful legislation where the age of criminal responsibility reflects the national norm at 18. As responsible adults, it is time to change our focus from criminalization to rehabilitation of our minors who commit minor criminal acts and low-level offenses.
As Law Enforcement Professionals we understand that our justice system can do better for our youth, especially those in need. Criminalization and stigmatization of our young people are a proven detriment to future opportunities for education, employment and being socially constructive in our communities.