Raise the Age NY Campaign Statement on Raise The Age Legislation
In response to the passing of Raise the Age legislation in New York, Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children-New York; Naomi Post, Executive Director of the Children’s Defense Fund-New York and Paige Pierce, CEO of Families Together in New York State released the following statement on behalf of the Raise the Age NY campaign:
Once the Senate joins the Assembly in passing this “Raise the Age” legislation, tens of thousands of New York’s youth who make a mistake will be treated in an age-appropriate manner, offering them an opportunity to turn their lives around. While no legislation is perfect, we applaud Governor Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Heastie and members of the Assembly, the Senate Majority, Minority and Independent Democratic Caucus, and the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus for being “smart on crime.” We are close to passing this historic legislation due in large part to the formerly incarcerated youth and their families, faith leaders, members of the legal community, direct service providers, and advocates who made their voices heard for many years. We look forward to the final passage of this legislation and working with our elected officials and city and state agencies to make sure that New York does right by all youth who come into contact with the justice system.
For more information about the Raise the Age campaign, visit www.raisetheageny.com and follow the campaign on social media using the hashtag #RaisetheAgeNY.
About the Raise the Age NY campaign:
Raise the Age NY is a public awareness campaign that includes national and local advocates, youth, parents, law enforcement and legal representative groups, faith leaders, and unions that have come together to increase public awareness of the need to implement a comprehensive approach to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York State so that the legal process responds to all children as children and provides services and placement options that better meet the rehabilitative needs of all children and youth.
New York is one of only two states in the country (the other is North Carolina) that have failed to recognize what research and science have confirmed – adolescents are children, and prosecuting and placing them in the adult criminal justice system doesn’t work for them and doesn’t work for public safety.
Children who are prosecuted as adults are more likely to continue committing crimes in the future. Children who are treated as children are more likely to stay out of jail, and out of the justice system:
- Studies have found that young people prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system are 34% more likely to be re-arrested for violent or other crime than youth retained in the youth justice system.
- A study comparing youth prosecuted in New York’s adult courts to young people prosecuted for the same felonies in New Jersey’s juvenile courts found that the New York youth were more likely to recidivate. Not only were New York youth 100% more likely to rearrested for a violent crime, they also had higher re-incarceration rates and shorter time periods to re-arrest than their New Jersey peers.
- In 2013, the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission found that when the state began prosecuting 17-year-olds as juveniles, juvenile crime continued to decline. Moreover, between 2010 when the law changed, until 2013, the state experienced a 14% decrease in violent crime. Contrary to what opponents had predicted, including 17-year-olds did not overload the juvenile justice system, nor did it increase juvenile offenses.
Research into brain development underscores that adolescents are in fact children and that the human brain is not fully formed until the age of 25:
- As the cognitive skills of adolescents are developing, adolescents’ behavior is often impulsive and they lack the ability to focus on the consequences of their behavior.
- Because the adolescent brain is still developing, the character, personality traits and behavior of adolescents are highly receptive to change; adolescents respond well to interventions, learn to make responsible choices, and are likely to grow out of negative or delinquent behavior.
- Raise the Age NY is a campaign that supports raising the age of criminal responsibility for all children in New York to improve outcomes for children and public safety.
For more information about the Raise the Age campaign, visit www.raisetheageny.com.
Lead group members:
Center for Community Alternatives | @CCA_NY
Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York | @CCCNewYork
Correctional Association of New York | @CANY_1844
Families Together in NYS | @ftnys
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies | @FPWA
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy | @SchuylerCenter
The Children’s Agenda | @ChildrensAgenda
The Children’s Defense Fund – New York | @CDFNewYork
The Fund for Modern Courts | @ModernCourts
Westchester Children’s Association | @wca4kids
Youth Represent | @YouthRepresent
Additional supporters to date:
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
Alternatives for Battered Women
American Friends Service Committee (NY)
Arab American Association of NY
Association for Community Living, Inc.
Association of NYS Youth Bureaus
Association to Benefit Children
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
Bronx Christian Fellowship Church
Bronx Clergy Roundtable
Brooklyn Community Services
Brooklyn Defender Services
Campaign to End the New Jim Crow
Casa Rochester/Monroe County, Inc.
Center for Children’s Initiatives
Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)
Center for Popular Democracy
Child Welfare Organizing Project
Citizens Action of New York
City of Glen Cove Youth Bureau
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
Coalition for Education Justice
Coalition for Hispanic Children and Families
Coalition for the Homeless
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists
Commission on the Public’s Health System
Communities United for Police Reform
Community Connections for Youth
Community Service Society
Community Voices for Youth and Families
Dignity in Schools Campaign – New York
Equal Justice Initiative
Every Child Matters LI
Faith in New York
Families On The Move of NYC, Inc.
First Corinthian Baptist Church
Good Shepherd Services
Harlem Children’s Zone
Herstory Writers Workshop
Human Rights Watch
Human Services Council
Incarcerated Nation Corp.
Jewish Child Care Association
Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club
Latino Justice PRLDEF
Lawyers for Children
Leake &Watts Services, Inc.
Legal Action Center
Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
Long Island Progressive Coalition
Lutheran Family Health Centers
Make the Road New York
Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.
MFY Legal Services, Inc.
Montefiore School Health Program
National Association of Social Workers – New York State
National Economic and Social Rights Initiative
Neighborhood Family Services Coalition
New York American Academy of Pediatrics, District II
New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, Inc.
New York Center for Juvenile Justice
New York Civil Liberties Union
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Immigration Coalition
New York Society for Ethical Culture
New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault
New York State Coalition for Children’s Mental Health
New York State Coalition for School-Based Health Centers
New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
New York Theological Seminary
NYC Jails Action Coalition
Partnership for After School Education (PASE)
Partnership for the Public Good
Partners in Restorative Initiatives
Save the Kids
SCO Family of Services
Staten Island Council on Child Abuse and Neglect
S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth Inc.
The Black Institute
The Brotherhood/Sister Sol
The Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES)
The Children’s Aid Society
The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc.
The Fortune Society
The Gathering for Justice/ Justice League NYC
The Legal Aid Society
The National Alliance for Mental Illness-New York State
The New York Foundling
The New York Immigration Coalition
The New York State Dispute Resolution Association
The Osborne Association
The Partnership For Public Good
The Resolution Plan
Tremont United Methodist Church
United Neighborhood Houses
Unique People Services
Uniting Disabled Individuals, Inc
Urban Health Plan, Inc.
Urban Justice Center
Urban Youth Collaborative
Women’s City Club of New York
Pastor Mike Walrond
William F. Ryan Community Health Network
YA-YA Network (Youth Activists-Youth Allies)