On Monday, April 10, 2017, Governor Cuomo signed into law legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility in the state of New York. This is a historic accomplishment, as raising the age has been a subject of contention in the legislature for many years. NASW-NYC has had this as a priority for years, and we thank the many members who worked tirelessly on this issue. Some highlights are included below, and we will keep you updated as we transition to this new system.
- The FY 2018 State Budget raises the age of criminal responsibility to 18-years-old and ensures that young people who commit non-violent crimes receive the intervention and evidence-based treatment they need. New York was previously one of only two states in the nation that automatically processed all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the criminal justice system, no matter their offense.
- The new measures will be phased in over time, raising the age of juvenile delinquency from age 16- to 17-years-old beginning on October 1, 2018, and subsequently raising the age of criminal responsibility to 18-years-old on October 1, 2019.
- Further, young people will no longer be permitted to be housed in adult facilities or jails. Young people under the age of eighteen will no longer be placed or held at Rikers Island in New York City no later than October 1, 2018. They are to be placed in specialized juvenile detention facility certified by the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and the State’s Office of Children and Family Services, and in conjunction with the State’s Commission of Correction and the New York City Department of Corrections.
- The state will also create a Raise the Age implementation task force, with committee members designated by the Governor. Additionally, individuals who have been crime free for ten years after serving a sentence will be able to apply for the sealing of previous criminal convictions.
This statement from The Marshall Project on #RaiseTheAge details the “fine print” in the law – indicating area of continued struggle for years to come.
12-10-15 Raise the Age Of Criminal Responsibility