“Don’t Charge 16- and 17-Year-Olds as Adults, Activists say at City Hall Rally”

 

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“Two dozen criminal justice advocates rallied in front of City Hall Thursday to push for a change in the state law that automatically charges 16- and 17-year-olds accused of crimes as adults.

New York and North Carolina are the only states that automatically treat teens as adults — and it should stop, say the advocates.

“Sixteen and 17-year-olds cannot vote, they cannot purchase alcohol, they cannot purchase cigarettes … but in New York and North Carolina, these young people can be arrested and treated as an adult regardless of what crime they have allegedly committed.”” said Stephanie Gendell of the Citizens’ Committee for Children and Children’s Defense Fund-NY.

Gov. Cuomo recently vowed he would push the Legislature to change the law so that youths are only prosecuted as adults for crimes of serious violence. His previous efforts to change the law have gone nowhere.

Cuomo aims to hike age of teens tried as adults

City Councilman Rory Lancman, a former state Assemblyman, said state Senate Republicans are loath to pass the bill because it’s perceived as being soft on crime.

“The Republican Senate has a knee-jerk reaction to any criminal justice reform that we try to put forward,” said Lancman, who supports raising the age of criminal responsibility.

The law can only be changed by the state, but Lancman is calling on the city to make reforms that would help keep young people from being automatically treated as adults when arrested.

He said Mayor de Blasio should support expanding programs that divert 16- and 17-year-olds from the criminal justice system and put them in treatment programs instead.”

Original Link via NY Daily News: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/don-charge-16-17-year-olds-adults-activists-urge-article-1.2950773