Almost 250 Faith Leaders from Across New York Release Letter Urging Cuomo, Flanagan and Heastie to Raise the Age this Session

June 6, 2016

 

Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of the State of New York

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY  12224

 

Honorable John Flanagan

Senate Majority Leader

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

 

Honorable Carl Heastie

Assembly Speaker

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

 

Dear Governor Cuomo, Majority Leader Flanagan and Speaker Heastie:

 

As faith leaders from many backgrounds, traditions and beliefs, we write to you united by our great concern for the future of children in our communities. Too many are being swept up into the adult criminal justice system and getting trapped in a cycle of poverty and crime. We all know children who have faced down difficult circumstances and rebuilt their lives. But the lack of age-appropriate interventions for 16- and 17-year olds in the adult system, as well as the heightened exposure they face to violence and abuse, is making it difficult and in many cases impossible for even the most intelligent and capable teens to become productive and successful members of our communities.

 

As a state, New York is failing these children. Today, we humbly ask you to raise the age at which children are automatically charged as adults.  Currently, New York is one of two states where youth as young as 16 automatically end up in adult courts, jails and prisons.

 

Passing the raise the age proposal contained in the 2016-2017 Executive Budget will enhance public safety and offer youth age-appropriate interventions (including, when necessary, incarceration).

 

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. We should be better than that.

 

Adult prisons do not focus on rehabilitation, and are not designed to meet the needs of children. National studies show that young people confined in adult facilities are much more likely to face traumatic physical and sexual violence than those in juvenile facilities.

 

This lack of age-appropriate intervention and increased exposure to violence also leads to higher rates of recidivism and, as a result, higher costs for the justice system as a whole. Our current law sets young people up to become re-offenders: research has shown that young people who go through the adult system are much more likely to re-offend than those in the juvenile system.

 

From a public safety perspective, raising the age is about being both smart on crime and tough on crime – an approach that numerous law enforcement officials from around the state have endorsed. By creating a path to more positive outcomes for more children, raising the age would lead to crime reductions and help foster safer, more livable streets throughout the state.

 

Thank you for your consideration of this matter. We are ready to stand by you and move forward with this important policy change. It goes without saying that all New Yorkers will be better off under this approach.

 

Respectfully,

 

 

Rev. Anthony A. Abbazio, Jr.

Church of the Nazarene

 

Bishop Gladstone Adams

The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York

 

Minister Gregory Adegbola

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

Reverend Margaret Allen

Unitarian Universalist of Stonybrook

 

Bishop Jane Allen Middleton

New York Annual Conference UMC

 

Onleilove Alston, Executive Director

PICO Faith in NY

 

Rev. Dr. Kim W. Anderson

Metropolitan A .M.E. Church

 

Bishop Emmanuel Asse

National Action Network & Gateway Christian Center

 

Deacon Walter Ayers

Catholic Charities Commission on Peace and Justice, Albany Diocese

 

Rev. Althea Bailey

Brown Memorial Baptist Church, Manhattan

 

J. Bruce Baker, Pastor

All Souls Parish/Presbyterian Church, Port Chester

Pastor Sheila M. Bedford

Westbury United Methodist Church

 

Rev. Henry A. Belin III

First AME Bethel Church

 

Reverend Charles Bell

Messiah Lutheran Church

 

Bob Berson

Ethical Culture Society of Northern, Westchester

 

Rev. Dr. Len and Judy Bjorkman

First Presbyterian Union, Owego

 

Rabbi Jonathan Blake

Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale

 

Rev. Leon Blunt Jr.

Christian Church of Disciples of Christ

 

Reverend Lynn Carman Bodden

United Church of Christ (UCC)

 

Rabbi Jeff Brown

Scarsdale Synagogue

 

James Brumm, Pastor and Teacher

Blooming Grove Reformed Church, Rensselaer, NY

 

Rabbi Aaron Brusso

Bet Torah, Mount Kisco

 

Pastor Alex Bryant

E.P.H.O.D Ministries

 

Co-Pastor Dr. Teresa Bryant

E.P.H.O.D Ministries

 

Ms. Kimberly Burgess

The Riverside Church

 

Rev. Dr. Amy Butler

The Riverside Church

 

Reverend George A. Bynoe

Int’l Dream Team Christian Association

 

Rev. John C. Calhoun

St. Luke in the Fields

 

Rev. Luis-Alfredo Cartagena Zayas

Park Avenue Christian Church (DOC)/UCC

 

Maria Ceraulo, Women’s Issues Chair

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR)

 

Rev. Angela Cesa

 

Rev. Mark Chaffin

Emmanuel Baptist Church – Albany

 

Minister Dierdra Clark

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

Reverend Kymberley Clemons-Jones

Valley Stream Presbyterian Church

 

Rabbi Judy Cohen-Rosenberg

Community Reform Temple

 

Susan Converse, Elder

Reformed Church of Locust Valley

 

J. Cooper Conway, Priest in Charge

St Paul’s on the Hill Episcopal Church & Trinity Episcopal Church, Ossining

 

Reverend Peter Cook

New York State Council of Churches

 

 

Martha Corneil, Member

Journey United Church of Christ

 

Richard Corney, Episcopal Priest, Retired

 

Reverend Charles Coverdale

First Baptist Church of Riverhead

 

Michael Dack, UCC Pastor

New York Conference

 

Rev. Doris K. Dalton

Memorial United Methodist Church of White Plains

 

Rev. Sandy Damhof

Journey UCC

 

The Rev. Noelle Damico

United Church of Christ Metro Association

 

Maxine Dangler

Unitarian Universalists At Shelter Rock (UUCSR)

 

The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

Episcopal Church of the Incarnation

 

Rev. Dr. Susan G. De George, Stated Clerk

Hudson River Presbytery

 

Rev. Lindsey De Kruif

Christ Community Reformed Church

 

The Rev. Dr. Gawain de Leeuw, OA, Rector

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, White Plains

 

Mary Dewar

Garden City Community Church (UCC)

Rev. Robert Dievendorf

 

Pastor Kathy Donley

Emmanuel Baptist Church, Albany

 

Rev. Joyce Dugger, Protestant Chaplain

Hofstra University

 

Pastor Willie Elliott

Helping Hands Outreach Ministries

Rev. Brian C. Ellis-Gibbs

Queens Baptist Church

 

Rev. Que English

NYC Clergy Roundtable and the Bronx Clergy Criminal Justice Roundtable

 

Pastor Angel M. Falcon

Faith Alive Ministries

 

Rev. Valerie Faust

Living Word Tabernacle

 

Rabbi Michael Feinberg

Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition

 

Judith Fishkin

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR)

 

Reverand Joel A. Gibson

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

 

Carole Flot, Member

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR)

 

Wayne Francis, Lead Pastor

Authentic Church, White Plains

 

David Gaewski, Conference Minister

New York Conference, United Church of Christ

 

Rev. Dr. Steven Meredith Garmon, Minister

Community Unitarian Universalist Congregation, White Plains

 

Carl Garrison, Minister of Homeless Outreach

Manhattan Church of Christ

 

Lisa Gasstrom, Clerk

Westbury Monthly Meeting Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)

 

The Rev. Jeffrey A. Geary, Pastor

White Plains Presbyterian Church

 

 

Rev. Thomas Getman

Retired Chaplain

 

Richard Gilbert, President

Interfaith Impact of NYS

 

Reverend Thomas Goodhue

Long Island Council of Churches

 

Reverend Kenneth Graham

Presbytery of Long Island

 

Reverend Farrell Graves

All Souls Episcopal Church

 

Youth Pastor Bryan Greaves

Holy Church of Christ

 

Minister Justin Greaves

 

Rabbi David Greenberg

Temple Sharaay Tefila, Bedford

 

Rev. William Grosch

United Church of Christ (UCC)

 

Rev. Wayne Hampton

Assemblies of God

 

Kristina Hansen, Senior Pastor

St. Paul’s UMC (Northport)

 

Rev. Andrea M. Hargett

St. Matthew’s AME Church of Hollis Queens

 

The Rev. Susan C. Harriss, Rector

Christ’s (Episcopal) Church, Rye

 

The Reverend Sarah E. Henkel

White Plains Presbyterian Church

 

Apostle LaRuth Henry

Phoebe Christian Center

 

Apostle Joan Hicks-Corbett

Greater Works Ministries

 

Rabbi Julie Hilton Danan

Pleasantville Community Synagogue

 

The Rev. Dr. David R. Holder, Founder and Senior Pastor

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

Co-Pastor Samantha Holmes Elliott

Helping Hands Outreach Ministries

 

Reverend Dr. Tim Hoyt Duncan

First Presbyterian of Northport

 

Bishop Donald S. Hudson

Common Ground Christian Life Center

 

Reverend Dr. Jimmy Hulsey

First Presbyterian Church of Smithtown

 

Reverend Thomas Humphrey

Long Island Men’s Center

 

Rev. Tomi Jacobs-Ziobro

First Congregational UCC

 

Rabbi Jonathan Jaffe

Temple Beth El of Northern Westchester, Chappaqua

 

Rev. Lisa D. Jenkins

St. Matthew’s Baptist Church of Harlem

 

The Rev. Dr. Marie Jerge

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

 

Reverend Kate Jones-Calone

Setauket Presbyterian Church

 

Jone Johnson Lewis, Clergy Leader

Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture and Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture

 

Rev. Voni Johyn

Isaiah Temple Queens

 

Rev. David M. Jolly

New York State Council of Churches

 

Reverend Eddie J. Jusino

First Presbyterian Church of Freeport

 

Robert F. Keeler, Member

Pax Christi Long Island

 

Jim Ketcham, Executive Director

FOCUS Churches of Albany, Inc.

 

Rabbi Rena Kieval

Congregation Ohav Shalom

 

Rev. Alan Kinney

Eastern Parkway United Methodist Church

 

Pastor Roy Kirton

Circle of Love Ministries

 

Reverend John W. Kloepper, Phd.

Presbytery of Long Island

 

Rev. Liz Koenig

Apostles Church BK

 

Father Andrew Koterba

St. Francis Polish National Catholic Church

 

Rev. Harold Lay

Parkway Community Church

 

Rev. Alison Leitzel

First Lutheran Church, Albany NY

 

Reverend Cynthia Liggon

First Baptist Church of Riverhead

 

The Rev. Dr. Sara Litzner

Zion Lutheran Church

 

Rev. Yvonne Logan

Grace Episcopal Church

 

Rev. John Long

Presbyterian Church (USA)

 

Rev. Mark J. Lukens

Bethany Congregational United Church of Christ

 

Rev. Henry S. Manley

The Riverside Church

 

Rabbi Chaim Marder, Spiritual Leader

Hebrew Institute of White Plains

 

Rev. Zac Martin

Park Slope’s Sovereign Grace City Church, Trellis

 

Mr. Geoff Martin

Riverside Church New York

 

Rev. Dr. Roger J. Martin

Faith United Church, Oswego New York

 

Rev. Taryn Mattice

Protestant Cooperative Ministry at Cornell

 

Rev. Emily McNeill

Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS

 

Rabbi Shira Milgrom

Congregation Kol Ami, White Plains

 

Minister Gregory Millings

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

Father Stephen Mimnaugh

Church of St. Francs of Assisi

 

Reverend Chuck M. Cary D. Min

Westhampton Presbyterian Church

 

Rev. Heather Moody

First Congregational United Church of Christ in Poughkeepsie, NY

 

Rev. Dr. Eleanor Moody-Shepherd

New York Theological Seminary

 

Reverend Janice Moore-Caputo

North Shore Presbyterian Church of Great Neck

 

Rev. Darren M. Morton, Ed. D., Senior Pastor

Macedonia Baptist Church, Mount Vernon

 

Rev. Dorothy Muller, Member

Hudson River Presbytery

 

 

Rev. Norma Prina Murphy

Hammond Presbyterian Church

 

Pastor Mark Musser

New Village Church

 

Pastor Andrew Tobias Nelson

Christ our Emmanuel Lutheran Church

 

Rev. Brooke Newell

Potsdam United Methodist Church

 

Rev. Alan Newton

American Baptist Churches

 

Frank Nichols, Chaplain

Retired, UCC clergy

 

Reverend Karyn O’Beirne

Unitarian Universalist Society of South Suffolk

 

Pastor Jim O’Hanlon, Pastor

St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Rye Brook

 

Rev. Dr. Moses Oladosu

Resurrection And Life Church, Bronx

 

Rev. Greg Osterberg

Mountain Rise UCC

 

Rev. Emily Otto

United Church of Christ

 

Freeman L. Palmer, Associate Conference Minister

NY Conference United Church of Christ

 

Joseph Paparone, Advocacy Coordinator

FOCUS Churches of Albany

 

Rev. Forrest T. Parkinson

International Council of Community Churches (ICCC)

 

The Ven. Bill Parnell

Episcopal Diocese of New York

 

Pastor Carol A. Paynter

Smithtown United Methodist Church

Susan Peters

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington

 

Elaine Peters

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR)

 

Rev. Thomas Philipp

Old South Haven Presbyterian Church

 

Pastor Shirley Pudney-Eilers

Faith United Church of Christ, Williamsville, NY

 

Minister Rebecca Putman

Northville United Presbyterian Church

Rev. Erik Rasmussen

Woodbury (NY) United Methodist Church

 

Reverend Michelle Raysor

Connecting for Purpose

 

Reverend James B. Rea, Jr.

Bethany Presbyterian Church

 

Ruth Reeves, Congregant

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

 

Rev. Dr. Lillian F. Reynolds, Minister for Community Based Programs

Grace Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon

 

Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson

Senior Pastor, Grace Baprist Church

 

Rev. Raymond Rivera

Latino Pastoral Action Center, Inc.

 

Jerry Rivers

The Vineyard Church/North American Climate, Conservation and Environment

 

Bishop Earnest Robinson

Long Island Breakthrough Center

 

The Rev. Dr. Martha Rollins Overall

St. Ann’s Church of Morrisania

 

Rev. Dr. Bonnie Rosborough, Pastor

Briarcliff Congregational Church

 

Apostle A.S. Rose

Upon this Rock Ministries, Inc., Mount Vernon

 

Mary Sharon Ryan

Emmanuel UCC, Massena, NY

 

Mary Beth Sasso

Episcopal Charities of the Diocese of New York

 

Reverend Dr.Tracie Saunders

Presbytery of Long Island

 

Cantor Eric Schulmiller

Reconstructionist Synagogue of North Shore

 

Ms. Ingrid Schwarzkopf

Religious Society of Friends (Quaker)

 

Rev. Merle Showers

University UMC

 

Barbara Shuck

Presbytery of Utica

 

Ed Simmons

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

 

Minister Marlon Simpkins

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

Ms. Eugena Simpson

West Harlem Group Assistance Inc. (Convent)

 

Rev. Denise Smartt

The United Methodist Church

 

Minister Alex Smith

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

Rev. Gary T. Smith

East Side Congregational UCC

 

 

Pastor Marcel Snuggs

Harvest Christian Bible Church

 

Rev. Dr. Ruth E. Snyder

Church of the Nativity UCC, Buffalo

 

Victoria F. Spielman

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

 

Rev. Eleanor Stanton

United Church of Christ

 

Rev. Marlis Stoner

Presbyterian Church USA

 

Pastor Katie Jo Suddaby

American Baptist Churches USA

 

Jackie Sullivan, Retired Chaplain at Albion Correction Facility

Albion Correctional Facility

 

Rev. Lawrence W. Swensen

The Long Island Council of Churches

 

Minister Sherin Swift

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

Reverend Mark Tammen

Presbyterian of Long Island

 

Ms. LaSonya Thompson

WCUPA Doctoral Program

 

John Tilton

Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock (UUCSR)

 

Rev. Barbara Toll

Community Congregational Church

 

Marlene Towne

United Methodist Woman

 

Rev. Erwin Lee Trollinger, Jr

Calvary Baptist Church, White Plains

 

Ms. Judith L Turnock

The Riverside Church

 

Minister John Udochi

New York Covenant Church, New Rochelle

 

David Van Epps, Retired Senior Chaplain

Ogdensburg Correctional Facility, NYSDOCCS

 

Rev. Shannan Vance-Ocampo

Albany Presbytery, Presbyterian Church USA

 

Pastor Noel Vanek

The Community Church of the Pelhams

 

Reverend Canon Richard D. Visconti

All Souls Episcopal Church

 

Pastor Pieter Visscher

Western Adirondack Presbyterian Church

 

Joseph Volker, Coordinator

Pax Christi Long Island

 

Pastor Kyle Watkins

Safe House Ministries

 

Rev. Jeff Wells

The Church of the Village, NYC

 

Stacy Wilder, Children’s Ministries Director

First Congregational Church

 

Pastor Gregory Wilk

Abundant Life Church

 

Lisa Willey, Christian Education Leader

UCC Bayberry

 

Rev. Dr. Verlin D. Williams, Pastor

Union Baptist Church, White Plains

 

Reverend Scott Williams

Christ First Presbyterian Hempstead

 

Rev. Joan M. Williams

Beth-Hark Christian Counseling Center, Inc.

 

Rev. Michael Walrond                              First Corinthians Baptist Church

Sister Mary Harvey, RSM

 

Rabbi Robert N Levine

Congregation Rodeph Sholom, New York

 

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl

Central Synagogue

 

Vince Colonno

CEO of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany

 

Rev. Erica Baron

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of

The Catskills

 

Rev. Micah Bucey

Judson Memorial Church

 

Rev. John Collins

Memorial UMC

 

Rabbi Irving Greenberg

Retired

 

Sister Maureen Harris

St. Martin de Porres Church

 

Joyce Hartwell, Interfaith Miniter and Founder

Artists’ All-Faith Center

 

Rev. Dr. Timothy Hoyer

Gloria Dei Luthern Church

 

Rev. Paul Kelly

 

Sister Honora Kinney

Sister of t. Joseph

 

Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein

Congregation Shir Shalom

 

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann

Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives

 

Reverend Raymond Rivera

Latino Pastoral Action Center/Sanctuary Church

 

Rev. Merle Showers

University UMC

 

Minister Stacey Midge

First Reformed Church of Schenectdy

 

Senior Pastor Marcos Miranda

Action in Christ International

 

Sister Teresa Raftery

Sisters, Servants of the Immactulate Heart of Mary

 

Reverand Konrad Raup

Journey UCC

 

Sister Marlene Ann Roeger

Sisters of St. Joseph

 

Robb Smith

Executive Director

Interfaith Impact of NYS

 

Rabbi Brian Walt

Tikkun v’Or

 

Rev. Ron Garner

Memorial Congregation Church

Sr. Margaret Anne Meyer, MMM

 

Rabbi Peter J. Rubinstein

Rabbi Emeritus of Central Synagogue

and Director of Jewish Community and

Bronfman Center for Jewish Life

92nd Street Y

 

William C. Wolff, AFSC

Executive Direcor

LaSalle School

 

Rev. Earl Arnold

Presbyterian Church U.S.A.

 

Rev. Bruce E. Williams

Bridge Street A. M. E. Church

 

Dr. Edward O. Williamson, Pastor-Teacher

Bethel Baptist Church, White Plains

 

 

Rev. Melvin E. Wilson

African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

 

The Rev. Claire Woodley, Rector

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Mohegan Lake

 

Pastor Frederick Woodward

First Presbyterian Church of Greenlawn

 

Perry Wootten, Pastor

First Presbyterian Church, Ossining

 

Bart Worden, Clergy Leader

Ethical Culture Society of Westchester

 

Rev. Ned Wight

Mr. Barrington Wright

The Riverside Church

 

Rev. Dustin Wright

Messiah Lutheran Church

 

Rev. Theresa Ora Wyatt, JD

Churchill Baptist Church Of Christ, Inc., NY, NY

 

Rev. Dr. Robert E. Young, Sr. Pastor

Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Peekskill

 

Lady Rachel Young Watkins

Safe House Ministrie

 

Unitarian Universalist