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Justice Policy Institute Commends New York’s Landmark Raise the Age Legislation


New York joins the growing list of states implementing safer, more cost effective raise the age polices

JPI applauds New York’s April 7th budget agreement, which includes raise the age legislation that would result in most 16 and 17 year olds being handled in family court. Because of Governor Cuomo’s leadership, legislators who recognized the need for reform, and tireless work by advocates and concerned citizens, New York will begin to spend taxpayer dollars more effectively and cut costs through this historic effort.

New York has now joined a growing, bi-partisan national movement to raise the age to 18—surpassing North Carolina, the only other remaining state to automatically exclude 16 and 17 year olds from the juvenile justice system. As a result of this national shift towards raise the age policies over the past decade, the number of youth in the adult system has been nearly cut in half.

As detailed in JPI’s newest report, “Raising the Age: Shifting to a Safer and More Effective Juvenile Justice System”, there is a growing, bi-partisan shift across America to raise the age. By having 16 and or 17 year olds in the juvenile justice system, states are able to keep young people safe, enhance public safety, and effectively manage taxpayer dollars. The report highlights examples from Connecticut, Illinois, and Massachusetts, all states that recently raised the age without significantly raising costs. These states, and JPI’s report, show that raise the age policies are a better approach to public safety, and New York’s budget passage is a significant step in the right direction.

Adult prisons are devastating for youth, their families, and communities. We commend New York’s shift towards a better juvenile justice approach, that will ultimately keep costs in check while creating safer communities.

For more information on raising the age, please contact JPI Executive Director Marc Schindler at (202) 215-7070 or JPI Communications Specialist Olivia Martinez at (714) 600-4463.

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