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Author: Bill Moyers and a team of producers that includes Marc Levin, Mark Banjamin and Rolake Bambose

2 additions to document , most recent over 5 years ago

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Mar-26-17 Information for writing to elected officials
Mar-26-17 More information for writing letters to elected officials on Raise the Age

RIKERS – From Bill Moyers and a team of producers that includes Marc Levin, Mark Banjamin and Rolake Bambose, comes the first film to focus exclusively on former detainees of RIkers Island. Their searing testimonials about the deep-seated culture of systemic violence and corruption that has plagued the notorious NYC jail for decades add a powerful authentic voice to investigative journalism that has reported on violence and abuse at the jail. Of the 7,500 people incarcerated at Rikers on any given day, almost 80% have not yet been found guilty or innocent of the charges against them.

DMU Timestamp: February 21, 2017 15:38

Added March 26, 2017 at 8:09pm by Paul Allison
Title: Information for writing to elected officials

Policy Points – 2017 What we need in a comprehensive Raise the Age Policy

  1. Raise the overall age of juvenile jurisdiction to 18, which is consistent with other states. Ensure Raise the Age legislation creates no additional harm for younger youth nor 16- and 17-year-olds, including but not limited to creating more punitive measures, allowing longer sentences, or decreasing the likelihood of youth being processed in the Family Court or juvenile justice system.

  2. Ensure no youth who is 16 or 17 years old is placed in an adult jail or prison.

  3. Originate as many cases of 16- and 17-year-olds in Family Court as possible; create Youth Parts in adult court for remaining cases and automatically apply the Family Court Act to as many as possible, regardless of which courthouse in which the case is heard. At a minimum, the Family Court Act Article 3 should be applied to the majority of youth and only the most serious violent felonies should be processed pursuant to the Juvenile Offender Laws.

  4. Amend the law to ensure parental notification upon the arrest of a 16 or 17 year old and ensure 16- and 17-year-olds are interviewed using practices employed for youth, including parental involvement prior to waiving Miranda rights.

  5. Better address the collateral consequences of court involvement and help youth become successful adults by allowing for retroactive sealing, expanding access to youthful offender (YO) status and raising the YO eligibility to youth under 21.

  6. Increase investments in the front-end diversion services that keep youth in their communities rather than incarceration. These alternatives to detention, placement, and incarceration services are less expensive and more effective at reducing recidivism.

  7. Raise the lower age of juvenile delinquency from age 7 to age 12 (except for homicide offenses, which should be raised to 10).

DMU Timestamp: February 21, 2017 15:38

Added March 26, 2017 at 8:29pm by Paul Allison
Title: More information for writing letters to elected officials on Raise the Age

Get the Facts


Useful links:
Raise the Age NY Campaign Fact Sheet 2017 | Fact Sheet with Map 2017
Who and Where are the Children in New York’s Justice System 2017
Final Report of the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice
Our 7 Policy Points

New York is one of only two states in the country that have failed to recognize what research and science have confirmed – adolescents are children, and prosecuting and placing them in the adult criminal justice system doesn’t work for them and doesn’t work for public safety.

But New York continues to be the only state other than North Carolina that prosecutes ALL youth as adults when they turn 16 years of age. Brain Development Science Is Clear – Adolescents Are Different Than Adults
Research into brain development underscores that adolescents are in fact children and that the human brain is not fully formed until the age of 25.

  • As the cognitive skills of adolescents are developing, adolescents’ behavior is often impulsive and adolescents lack the ability to focus on the consequences of their behavior.I
  • Because the adolescent brain is still developing, the character, personality traits and behavior of adolescents are highly receptive to change; adolescents respond well to interventions, learn to make responsible choices, and are likely to grow out of negative or delinquent behavior.II

Further, New York allows children as young as 7 years old to be arrested and charged with acts of juvenile delinquency.

Who’s Affected?

  • Nearly 28,000 16 and 17-year olds are arrested and face the possibility of prosecution as adults in criminal court each year – the vast majority for minor crimes (72% are misdemeanors).III
  • Furthermore, more than 600 children ages 13 to 15 are also processed in adult criminal courts – seriously diminishing their life prospects before they’ve even entered high school.IV
  • Over 70% 16 and 17 year olds arrested are Black or Latino. Of those sentenced to incarceration, 80% are black and Latino.V

What’s At Stake?

Treating children as adults in the criminal justice system is short-sighted and ineffective; youth incarcerated in adult facilities are more likely to suffer physical and emotional abuse and to recidivate – realities that are at odds with the goal of rehabilitating youth and protecting public safety:

  • Studies have found that young people transferred to the adult criminal justice system are 34% more likely to be re-arrested for violent and other crimes than youth retained in the youth justice system.VI Around 80% of youth released from adult prisons reoffend often going on to commit more serious crimes.VII
  • Studies show that youth in adult prisons are twice as likely to report being beaten by staff, and 50% more likely to be attacked with a weapon, than children placed in youth facilities.VIII
  • Youth in adult prisons face the highest risk of sexual assault of all inmate populations.IX
  • Youth in adult jails and prisons do not have access to the same age-appropriate rehabilitative services that are available in juvenile facilities.
  • Solitary confinement severely damages the mental health, physical health, and development of youth, sometimes irreparably.X While some progress has been made in limiting the use of solitary confinement for children, young people continue to be exposed to solitary confinement and prolonged isolation.
  • Youth are 36 times more likely to commit suicide in an adult facility than in a juvenile facility. XI

Rather than continuing to lock young people up in adult prisons, it is critical for New York to ensure that that youth involved in the criminal justice system are provided with court processes, services and placement options that are developmentally appropriate.

New York State needs to raise the age of criminal responsibility in a comprehensive manner.

  • The legal process must respond to all children as children and services and placement options must meet the rehabilitative needs of all young people.
  • A comprehensive approach to raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State is in the best interest of New York’s children and youth, communities and community safety.

I MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Adolescent Development and Juvenile Justice. Issue Brief #3: Less Guilty by Reason of Adolescence,

II Brief for the American Psychological Association, American Psychiatric Association, National Association of Social Workers, and Mental Health America as Amici Curiae, Graham v. Florida, 130 S. Ct. 2011 (2010),

III Dispositions of Youth Arrests (16 and 17 year olds), New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services,

IV New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, County Juvenile Justice Profiles,

V Final Report of the Governor’s Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice: Recommendations for Juvenile Justice Reform in New York State,

VI Effects on Violence of Laws and Policies Facilitating the Transfer of Youth from the Juvenile to the Adult Justice System: Report on Recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, November 30, 2007,

VII National Campaign to Reform State Juvenile Justice Systems. The Fourth Wave: Juvenile Justice Reforms for the Twenty-first Century; p. 20,

VIII Fagen, J., Forst, M. Vivona, T.S. ”Youth in Prisons and Training Schools: Perceptions and Consequences of the Treatment-Custody Dichotomy”, Juvenile and Family Court Journal, No.2, 1989.

IX National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, Report 18, June 2009,

X Kysel, Ian. Growing up Locked Down: Youth in Solitary Confinement in Jails and Prisons across the United States. New York, NY: American Civil Liberties Union, 2012,

XI “Jailing Juveniles: The Dangers of Incarcerating Youth in Adult Jails in America”, Campaign for Youth Justice, November 2007.

DMU Timestamp: February 21, 2017 15:38

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