Cuomo Calls for NY to Treat 16- and 17-Year-Olds as Juveniles


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo during a January 19 press conference in Albany.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to ban the practice of charging 16- and 17-year-old defendants as adults, he announced at a press conference Monday.

“Your imagination can paint vivid pictures when you talk about exposing a young person to a state prison … the reality is worse,” Cuomo said.

New York is one of just two states that has yet to raise the age of adulthood in criminal cases to 18 years old.

Cuomo will seek to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Youth, Public Safety & Justice, which he appointed in April 2014.

The commissions recommendations were announced yesterday; their focus is on reducing the number of 16- and 17-year-olds in adult jails in prisons.

“On any given day, there are about 700 16- and 17-year-olds in jails across New York state and about 100 more 16- and 17-year-olds in state prison,” wrote the report's authors, who also recommend that police notify the parents of 16- and 17-year-olds before questioning them.

The report also calls for the state to raise from 7 to 12 years old the age at which a child can be charged with a crime.

“Taken together, these shifts in adult court processing of the most serious cases would provide a more developmentally sound approach at every step in each case,” the report's authors wrote. “They would: create a presumption for removal to Family Court in certain cases, implement juvenile pretrial assessment and interventions, create a Youth Part in criminal court with expertise in these cases.”

Read the full report HERE.

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