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The Campaign for Youth Justice Applauds Gov. Andrew Cuomo for Supporting 'Raise The Age' in New York State

Posted in 2015 Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC (January 23, 2015) – This week Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) delivered his annual, "State of the State‟ Address in which he announced his support to embrace a package of recommendations aimed at reforming the state's criminal justice system. Central to that is a proposal to raise the age for criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years-old within three years.  The Campaign for Youth Justice (CFYJ) applauds Gov. Cuomo for addressing this issue and urging swift action movement on the measure this year.

"We are happy that Gov. Cuomo is vested in this issue and committed to making New York state a leader in juvenile justice reform," said Marcy Mistrett, CEO of CFYJ. “We applaud Gov.Cuomo for his work to create a system that promotes child well-being by incorporating evidence based practices that keep communities safe and that gives children developmentally appropriate services, as well as engages families as peer advocates."

In a statement, Cuomo’s office pointed out that black and hispanic youths make up 33 percent of 16- and 17-year-old youths statewide, but account for 72 percent of all arrests, and 77 percent of felony arrests.

The statement said young men of color comprise 82 percent of youth sentenced to adult confinement and that inmates under 18 in adult jails and state prisons are much more likely to be physically or sexually assaulted and to commit suicide than adult inmates.

Public opinion strongly favors rehabilitation and treatment over incarceration and judicial review over automatic prosecution in adult court. New York would join 23 other states that have made significant legislative reforms in the last decade to address the issue of children in the adult criminal justice system.

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