New York was one of only two states in the United States that prosecuted and sent youth as young as 16 to adult prisons. Our #RaiseTheAgeNY efforts centered on a policy issue state Democrats and Republicans could join together on to advance criminal justice reform and ensure public safety.
Criminalizing youth as adults is not only unsafe for children - it is also impacts our ability to keep communities safe. We should be creating sensible solutions to address youth crime, such as investing in education and rehabilitative services. The state of New York had a crucial moment to #RaiseTheAge of criminal responsibility, and we played a critical role in ensuring the passage of this key legislation.
We partnered with the Justice League NYC, Assemblymember Michael Blake, Raise The Age NY, and several other criminal justice advocates to launch a multimedia awarness campaign and work towards seeing a country that humanizes our children and prioritizes education over incarceration.
We urged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign a budget that would #RaiseTheAgeRIGHT in this crucial moment to #RaiseTheAge of criminal responsibility. As part of our media campaign, our co-founders Van Jones and Jessica Jackson Sloan penned this piece published in the New York Daily News.
In late April, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature agreed upon a budget that raised the age of criminal responsibility and created a separate family court system for young people in the criminal justice system. Raising the age of criminal responsibility gives adolescents a fair chance at rehabilitation and treatment.