From Raising the Age NY to Carl E. Heastie- Thank You

Dear Assembly Speaker Heastie,

As members of the Raise the Age NY Campaign, we write to thank you for making Raise the Age a priority in the state budget and for passing legislation that raises the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18. This long-awaited reform will improve the lives of thousands of youth, increase public safety for all New Yorkers, and make New York’s judicial system more fair and just for youth.

The Raise the Age NY Campaign includes over one hundred diverse organizations from across New York State, including formerly incarcerated youth and their families, child advocates, service providers, faith leaders, legal services groups, and unions. We all came together to urge State leaders to reverse the long-standing wrong of prosecuting every 16 and 17 year old as an adult.

The Campaign worked tirelessly over many years to increase awareness on the need to raise the age, drawing both on the lessons learned in 48 other states and the wealth of scientific research on adolescent and brain development. We mobilized New Yorkers to call, write, and meet with elected leaders; we coordinated advocacy meetings with elected leaders and their staff; we met with and galvanized stakeholders including but not limited to youth and their families, Family Court Judges, law enforcement, service providers, and faith leaders; and we utilized the media and social media to create a nonstop call to action for New York State to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years old. Our work was designed to support state leadership on RTA.

Your leadership was critical to ensuring Raise the Age was ultimately included in this year’s budget. This legislation will improve the lives of thousands of youth by ensuring that the majority of 16 and 17 year olds will have their cases heard in Family Court, that parents are notified upon arrest of their child, and that age-appropriate youth detention and placement facilities are used instead of adult jails and prisons. We are grateful for your commitment and partnership throughout the budget negotiations and bill drafting process, and we applaud your dedication to improving the justice system in ways that support both improved youth outcomes and community safety.

We look forward to working with you on the planning and implementation stages to raise the age, and we remain steadfast in our commitment to continue identifying ways in which we can collectively improve the laws, budgets, and policies that impact justice-involved youth, their families, and our communities.

Thank you again for your leadership.

Sincerely,

Berkshire Farms

Campaign for Youth Justice

Center for Community Alternatives

Central Synagogue

Children’s Defense Fund-NY

Children’s Village

Citizens’ Committee for Children

Congregation Beth Elohim

Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies

Families Together in New York State

Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies

Glen Cove Boys & Girls Club at Lincoln House

Good Shepherd Services

Graham Windham

Harlem Dowling-West Side Center for Children & Family Services

Herstory Writers Workshop

JCCA

Leake and Watts

Long Island Advocacy Center

National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter

National Association of Social Workers, New York State Chapter

New York Association of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Providers

New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault

New York State Council of Churches

Reform Jewish Voice of New York State

Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy

Sheltering Arms

SparkAction

St. Marks in the Bowery NYC

The Children’s Agenda

The Fund for Modern Courts

Westchester Children’s Association

Women’s City Club of New

Contact the Raise the Age Campaign:

Email: NYRaiseTheAge@gmail.com Website: www.RaiseTheAgeNY.com

Twitter: @RaiseTheAgeNY Facebook: RaiseTheAgeNY Phone: 646-820- 5645