NYS PTA supports Raising the Age and reforms to the Juvenile Justice System
Posted March 28, 2017
Gracemarie Rozea, President
Kyle McCauley Belokopitsy, Esq., Executive Director
March 27, 2017 (Albany) – The Executive Budget includes legislation to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction to age 17 on January 1, 2019 and to age 18 on January 1, 2020, which has been supported at different levels in the legislature.
NYS PTA fully supports revising the age of criminal responsibility for juvenile offenders and calls for increased support for prevention and rehabilitation of juveniles in the criminal justice system.
“We look to our legislators and Governor Cuomo in these last days to ensure ALL children are supported in both education and life,” NYS PTA President Gracemarie Rozea shared. “Raising the age of criminal responsibility for juvenile offenders is a priority of NYS PTA and we must continue to make common sense reforms to our juvenile justice system.”
Kyle Belokopitsky, NYS PTA Executive Director added, “Evidence based rehabilitative models of juvenile justice are critical for our youth, as opposed to more punitive measures. We fully support inclusion of these measures in the final enacted state budget and look forward to continuing to support ALL children, both in and out of the classroom.”
NYS PTA continues to support legislation that reforms the juvenile justice system. We have called for:
- Changing State law to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 and to provide evidence based rehabilitation including behavioral health care and educational/vocational opportunities;
- Ensuring juveniles under age 18 are not placed in adult prisons or jails;
- Protecting juveniles by “Sight and Sound” separation from jailed adults;
- Moving the majority of cases to Family Court, and creating a new Youth Part for juveniles alleged to have committed more violent crimes;
- Expanding services proven to reduce the likelihood of re-offending, including alternatives to detention and incarceration and providing for conditional sealing of records for certain crimes;
- Using validated risk assessment tools when dealing with juveniles in the justice system, to tailor services for individual needs and combat racial and ethnic disparities;
- Complying with IDEA mandates including the right to a free public education complete with academics, therapies and other supports;
- Assisting youth leaving the juvenile justice system and prevent their return;
- Creating a non-punitive system and therapeutic response that better serves the needs of youth, keeping families together and enhancing community safety;
- Supporting funding for the expansion of evidence based juvenile justice and prevention services;
- Educating members and the community regarding issues, concerns and solutions for youth in the juvenile justice system; and
- Promoting initiatives to address racial, ethnic and socioeconomic inequities in the juvenile justice system.
NYS PTA is committed to making every child’s potential a reality and looks forward to working with New York State officials to see that every child’s dream is achieved.