NYAPRS Note: Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed an executive order that removes juvenile offenders from adult prisons and places them in age-appropriate juvenile facilities where he believes they will have “a better chance at turning their lives around and becoming productive members of society.”
Just a day earlier, Cuomo announced that he will offer 10,000 conditional pardons to those who were convicted of (adult) crimes in their youth but have steered clear of trouble for 10 years or more.
It falls to the NYS legislature to take the next step that they didn’t take last year and to approve a measure to “Raise the Age” of adult criminal culpability to 18 years-old. NYAPRS supports the “Raise the Age” campaign, and expects to include it as part of its 2016 Legislative Day policy agenda.
N.Y. To Separate Minors From Adult Prisoners
Joseph Spector Lohud December 22, 2015
ALBANY -- New York will remove minors from adult prisons in the state and move them to a juvenile facility, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
Cuomo signed an executive order that would transfer all female youths aged 16 and 17 and all male youths in medium-and minimum-security facilities out of the general prison population.
The Hudson Correctional Facility in Columbia County, currently a medium-security prison, will be turned into a juvenile facility, and the first group of youth will head there by August, Cuomo said. It will impact about 100 prisoners.
“By housing 16 and 17 year-olds in an age-appropriate correctional facility, we can offer them a better chance at turning their lives around and becoming productive members of society,” Cuomo said in a statement.
The effort is the second in recent days to help youth charged with crimes, and after Cuomo was unable to get the Legislature to change state law to help imprisoned youth.
Cuomo on Monday announced he will grant “conditional pardons” to about 10,000 New Yorkers who were convicted of crimes in their youth, but who have stayed out of trouble for a decade.
Cuomo and Democrats in the state Legislature this year sought to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York, but Senate Republican opposed it. The “Raise the Age” proposal would have treated 16- and 17-year-olds charged criminally as youths, rather than adults.
New York is one of only two states that puts 16-and 17 year-olds in the adult criminal justice system, regardless of the offense.
The state will also take steps to limit recidivism among youth, such as providing additional staff to help youth in prison.
Cuomo said the order allows the commissioner of the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to also consider taking a youth from a local correctional facility into the state’s juvenile facility, if the sentence exceeds 90 days.