CCC Testimony: Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility
CCC testified about the need to create a comprehensive approach to raising the age of criminality in New York State at an Assembly Codes, Judiciary, Children and Families, Education and Black, Latino, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus hearing held on December 6, 2013.
New York State is one of two states where all children 16 and older are prosecuted as adults, regardless of the alleged crime. In addition, children as young as 13 years old can be prosecuted as adults if they allegedly committed serious felonies and children as young as 7 years old can be found to be juvenile delinquents.
CCC testified that these laws are out of touch with the rest of the country and the adolescent brain science research, which has proven that the adolescent brain is not fully developed, making youth more susceptible to risky behavior and more amenable to rehabilitative services. Prosecuting youth as adults also jeopardizes public safety because recidivism rates are higher when juvenile are treated as adults. It also threatens the safety of children when they are incarcerated with adults.
CCC recommended that New York’s law be amended to raise the age in a manner where the legal process responds to all children as children and services and placement options meet the rehabilitative and service needs of youth.