New York is one of only two states in the country that holds the age of adult criminal responsibility at 16 years old. This means that all 16 and 17-year-old criminal offenders are prosecuted in adult criminal court instead of in a juvenile setting. The only other state to have this provision in place is North Carolina. However, New York is moving towards raising the age of adult criminal responsibility to 18 years old.
If this legislation is signed into law, juveniles under the age of 17 will be removed from adult correctional facilities such as Rikers Island and county jails beginning October 1, 2018. Those who are under the age of 18 will be removed from these facilities beginning October 1, 2019. In addition, misdemeanor charges will be handled in Family Court. The state plans to establish a Youth Part of the criminal court where any felony charges would be handled. Most non-violent felony charges would be transferred to Family Court.
Any juveniles who become convicted as part of the Youth Part will be sentenced to serve time in an adolescent offender facility through the Department of Corrections. These juveniles will be serviced with programs established by the Office of Children and Family Services to encourage these minors to start life on a new path upon their release.
State proponents of this change believe this opportunity gives these young offenders a second chance at recovering from the mistakes they have made. Research has shown the negative psychological implications that come from a juvenile being placed in an adult correctional facilities. Our firm will continue to keep an eye on these changes and will provide updates on the matter.
Kevin T. Conway has over 30 years of experience as a Spring Valley criminal attorney handling DUI, DWI, traffic violations, violent crimes, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, shoplifting, and juvenile crimes. If you need a Rockland County criminal lawyer, contact our Spring Valley office for a free consultation.