New York and North Carolina are the remaining two states to prosecute 16- and 17-year-old criminal offenders as adults, regardless of the level of the offense.
The cut-off age for Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin is 17. In recent years Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island raised the criminal justice system’s adult age to 18.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 7, Raise the Age advocates, leaders, and supporters will gather in Albany to urge New York State legislators to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years old.
Studies show that raising the age of criminal responsibility leads to better outcomes for young offenders and improves public safety. Governor Andrew Cuomo sent a message asking supporters of his Raise the Age proposal to sign a petition.
“The adult criminal justice system is no place for young people. Without age appropriate facilities, they face greater risk of assault, sexual violence and higher rates of suicide,” the Governor wrote. “And when young people are treated as adults by the criminal justice system, they are more likely to be rearrested and re-incarcerated than those processed as juveniles.”
Cuomo argues that raising the age to 18 will help to reduce crime, lower the rates of repeat offenses, save taxpayers money, and provide young offenders with necessary services and support.
In 2015, approximately 86 percent of the 27,000 teenagers arrested in New York were taken in for nonviolent crimes, however they were processed as adults.
Cuomo argues that young offenders processed through the adult criminal justice system have higher recidivism rates and “often commit crimes more egregious than their original offense.”
He says under his proposal, young people will have access to special services that will help reduce the chances of them being repeat offenders, lower youth crime rates, and prevent up to 2,400 crimes every five years.
Tomorrow’s 11:00 a.m. press event will be streamed on the Raise the Age NY Facebook page.