Borough Presidents Boost Raise The Age
“Borough presidents from Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan on Friday are endorsing the effort to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 in New York, writing to Gov. Andrew Cuomo the measure be included in a final budget agreement.
“The research is clear,” wrote borough presidents Eric Adams, Gale Brewer and Ruben Diaz, Jr. in the letter addressed to Cuomo.
“Youth in adult prisons are more likely to be physically and sexually assaulted than in youth rehabilitative facilities. Recidivism of youth who have been placed in adult prisons is higher than if they are sent to youth rehabilitative facilities. Further, youth sent to adult prisons are increasingly likely to commit more serious crimes when they reoffend. Additionally, youth are far more likely to commit suicide in adult facilities as compared to youth facilities.”
Noting New York is one of two states that continue to treat 16 and 17-year-olds as adults in criminal cases, the borough presidents urged Albany to “catch up with the rest of the United States of America” and pass the measure.
The letter comes as lawmakers and Cuomo set to hunker down on two weeks of budget talks following the passage of the one-house budget resolutions this week in the Senate and Assembly.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, has repeatedly called the issue a key one for him and his conference in the final spending plan.
Senate Republicans have not embraced the Assembly’s version of the proposal, questioning which crimes should remain in criminal court and which cases should be heard in family courts.
Heastie has said he does not want create a “separate class” of the legal system for 16 and 17-year-old defendants by sending them to diversion courts.
The juvenile justice reform push has been at issue for the last several years in Albany, but has stalled in the Legislature. Cuomo through executive action began moving some teenage convicts out of adult facilities in 2015. “
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