During our statewide conference in Syracuse, the New York State NAACP and its 56 Branch leaders passed a unanimous resolution in support of the Raise the Age campaign.
New York State is the only state other than North Carolina that prosecutes ALL children as adults when they turn 16. This needs to stop.
Research has proven that adolescents’ brains are not fully developed and in fact continue developing until they are in their 20s. With appropriate interventions, youth are able to learn to make more responsible choices.
Approximately 50,000 16 and 17 year-olds are arrested in New York each year and face the possibility of being prosecuted in adult courts, placed in adult jails and prisons, and having the outcomes on their permanent records. In addition, over 600 children ages 13-15 are prosecuted in adult criminal courts because they have been charged with committing certain crimes. And in New York, children as young as age 7 can be prosecuted in the youth justice system.
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 commit more crimes in the future - realities that are at odds with the goal of rehabilitating youth and protecting public safety.
Rather than continuing to lock young people up in adult facilities, 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.
I am signing this petition because I want New York’s Law to be changed to RAISE THE AGE! No child should be prosecuted as an adult and no child should be placed in an adult prison or jail. I want all of New York’s children to be treated like children.