The move comes as officials push to address crime on multiple fronts with a focus on auto thefts and carjackings. “The best chance we have to keep an offender out of prison is to properly use the juvenile justice system,” said Police Chief Edward Flynn.
Only six states will prosecute all youth under 18 as adults. States are continuing to raise the age for juvenile court jurisdiction, which supporters argue lowers taxpayer costs and reduces recidivism.
In La Crosse County, Wisconsin, the ‘System of Care’ focuses on schools—the place where police most often come into contact with juvenile offenders. One of a handful of similar programs around the country, it offers middle- and high school students therapy, workshops and counseling to address the kind of behavior that otherwise might have landed them in court.
A vote by the NY state legislature now leaves North Carolina as the only state still prosecuting 16- and 17-year olds as adults. The NY law, signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday, will not go into effect until October 2018.
The tragic suicide of Ben Van Zandt, a youth tried as an adult, adds pressure on NY legislators to raise the age of criminal responsibility. New York is one of the few remaining states which still treat offenders as young as 17 as adults.
Most states, with some notable exceptions, have raised the age at which youths are exposed to the adult justice system. But the harder task of improving services for troubled young people is still ahead, warns a Justice Policy Institute expert.
In the final day of his resentencing hearing, Evan Miller, convicted for murder at 14, apologized to the family of the victim. Miller was the defendant in the 2012 Supreme Court ruling that juvenile life without parole for juveniles convicted of homicide.