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New York Lawmakers and Community Leaders Call on Albany to "Raise the Age" in the Criminal Justice System

by Justin Hyland
Rikers Island

Paul Lowry, Flickr

"Raise the Age" campaign wants to change state law that tries sixteen and seventeen year olds as legal adults

New York lawmakers and community leaders wants the state's criminal justice system to stop trying 16 and 17 year olds as adults.

Currently 50,000 sixteen and seventeen year-olds are processed as legal adults each year, regardless of the crime. The campaign "Raise the Age" stresses that children who go through the adult system are more likely to re-offend and suffer physical and emotional abuse than those who are placed in community-based rehabilitation programs.

State Senator Velmanette Montgomery said this issue must be a priority, "We need to be talking about securing the future of our young people in the most positive ways."

Legislation is still being drafted.  New York and North Carolina are currently the only states that try minors as adults. 



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