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Letter From Mayor Bill de Blasio and Administration Public Safety Officials in Support of Raise The Age Legislation

June 3, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio and all of the Administration’s public safety agencies issued the following joint statement today in support of efforts to raise the age of Family Court Jurisdiction in New York State. Today, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Elizabeth Glazer, Probation Commissioner Ana Bermudez, Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner Gladys Carrion, and Senior Advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice Vincent Schiraldi will be in Albany supporting Raise the Age legislation, which the Governor called for in his State of the State Address.

New York State has long been a pioneer in safe and effective juvenile and criminal policies. Yet, to our shame, in one area – treating 16 and 17 year olds as adults in the criminal justice system – we are behind all but one other state in the country.

It is time for New York to do the responsible thing: we must pass Raise the Age legislation now, before the session ends in June. Experts in law enforcement, prosecution, and juvenile justice from around the state agree.

We support a sensible and safe approach to adjudicating 16- and 17-year-olds in juvenile courts, housing them in juvenile facilities, and providing them with the age-appropriate services and conditions of confinement to reduce their re-offending and help them get their lives back on track.  Sound scientific data show that young people in this age group are different from adults in the way they make decisions and in the way they make long lasting behavior changes.  This research has repeatedly been cited in U.S. Supreme Court rulings affirming the importance of a separate treatment for juveniles.

We are encouraged by the success of other states that have recently raised the age of juvenile court jurisdiction with positive public safety outcomes. New York State should take the responsible step for our youth and Raise the Age to bring our state in line with both the well-founded practice and science of the 21st century.

Over the past year, my administration has pursued a series of policy reforms aimed at reducing crime and unnecessary arrests and incarcerations, mitigating collateral consequences, and helping young adults get out of the criminal justice system and onto the right path towards productive futures. Enacting this legislation will provide a path forward for youth across New York to ensure they are treated as  just that – youth – and not housed with older and potentially more hardened offenders.

We thank the leaders in Albany for their commitment to avoiding shifting costs to local communities. We look forward to continuing to work together to make New York a national leader in juvenile justice reform, and we urge action on legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility this session.

Mayor Bill de Blasio
William Bratton, Police Commissioner
Elizabeth Glazer, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
Zachary Carter, Corporation Counsel
Joseph Ponte, Commissioner of Correction
Ana Bermudez, Commissioner of Probation
Gladys Carrion, Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services
Vincent Schiraldi, Senior Advisor to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice

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