It is Time to Raise the Age in New York!

Did you know that New York is one of only two states (the other is North Carolina) that prosecutes all children and youth as adults when they turn 16 years old?  Well, it is true. 

New York’s antiquated law is still in place despite the research that has demonstrated that this practice actually jeopardizes public safety by increasing recidivism rates. Research has also proven that the adolescent’s brain is not fully developed until they are in their 20s. This is why youth are sometimes more impulsive—and also why youth are more receptive to rehabilitative services.

Governor Cuomo has already spearheaded numerous reforms to our state’s juvenile justice system.  The time is right for New York to take the next step and Raise the Age of criminal responsibility. Send a letter to Governor Cuomo urging him to Raise the Age!


  • Your Governor


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It is Time to Raise the Age in New York!

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to you because I want New York's Law to be changed to RAISE THE AGE of criminal responsibility! I want New York's laws to be in line with the rest of the country (besides North Carolina).

New York's children, youth and communities have benefited from the juvenile justice reforms that you and your administration have implemented since coming into office. I am urging you to take the next step and Raise the Age! I believe there needs to be a comprehensive approach to raising the age of criminal responsibility in New York State. This will be in the best interest of New York's children and youth, communities and community safety, as well as the State's economy.

Research has proven that adolescents' brains are not fully developed and in fact continue developing until they are in their 20s. This is why youth are sometimes more impulsive and less able to think about future consequences. 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 recidivate - 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.

New York's children and youth cannot wait - please Raise the Age today!

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]