Newsroom

THE TIME IS NOW TO RAISE THE AGE OF CRIMINAL RESPONSIBILITY

AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO AND THE NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE:

We, the undersigned organizations dedicated to the well-being of children and youth and other supporters, call on you to pass legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility before this legislative session ends June 17th. We cannot wait any longer.

Currently, New York is one of only two states that still prosecute all 16- and 17 –year- olds in the justice system as adults. The tragic suicide of Kalief Browder illustrates the urgent need to raise the age immediately. Mr. Browder experienced all of the harms that result from prosecuting youth as adults, including the myriad barriers to real opportunities for personal and professional growth upon release.  We cannot lose another life as a result of this archaic policy.

Raising the age will not only mean safer, healthier outcomes for youth, but increased public safety for all New Yorkers.  Why? Prosecuting kids as adults increases crime, including violent crime. A study comparing youth charged in New York’s adult courts with youth charged with identical crimes in New Jersey’s juvenile courts found New York youth were 100% more likely to re-offend with a violent offense and 26% more likely to be re-incarcerated.  The Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety, and Justice found that raising the age and reforming the justice system for youth would eliminate between 1,500 and 2,400 crime victimizations every five years.

Any legislation to Raise the Age must:

 Our youth need and deserve your commitment to their success and investment in their futures that will allow them to thrive as members of our global community. Don’t let another young person languish, suffer, despair, hurt – die -- and leave their dreams and wishes unfulfilled. Do the right thing and Raise the Age NOW.

Respectfully,

Amnesty International USA
Buffalo AntiRacism Coalition
Buffalo Save The Kids
Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth
Campaign for Youth Justice
Capital Area Against Mass Incarceration
Center for Children's Law and Policy
Center for Community Alternatives
The Children’s Defense Fund - New York
Citizens’ Committee for Children
Committee for Modern Courts
Community Connections for Youth
Community Voices Heard
Correctional Association of New York
Drama Club
Families Together in New York State
Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies
The Gathering for Justice / Justice League NYC
Housing Works Re-entry to Care
International Women’s Human Rights Clinic, CUNY Law School
Jim Owles Democratic Club
Justice For Families
Justice Policy Institute
JustleadershipUSA
Juvenile Law Center
The Legal Aid Society, NYC
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
Long Island Council of Churches
Metro New York Religious Campaign Against Torture
Morningside Quaker Meeting, Peace and Social Concerns Committee
NAMI Huntington
NAMI New York State
National Action Network NYC Chapter Second Chance Committee
National Association of Social Workers - New York State Chapter
National Juvenile Justice Network
National Lawyers Guild - New York City Chapter
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC)
New York City Jails Action Coalition (JAC)
New York Civil Liberties Union
New York State Coalition for Children’s Mental Health Services
New York State Prisoner Justice Network
The Osborne Association
Prison Families Anonymous
Raise the Age NY Campaign, a public awareness campaign that includes national and local advocates, youth, parents, law enforcement and legal representative groups, faith leaders, and unions
Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) Campaign
St. Mary’s Episcopal Church - Manhattanville
Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy
SCO Family of Services
The Sentencing Project
Social Workers Against Criminalization
Southampton Youth Bureau
Students for Prison Education and Reform, Princeton
Urban Justice Center Mental Health Project
Voices UnBroken
Westchester Children’s Association
Witness to Mass Incarceration
YOUTH POWER!
Youth Represent
Youth Justice Club - John Jay College of Criminal Justice



Sections