PT: NYS Senate Shows Willingness to Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility to 18

NYAPRS Note: In a hopeful sign, the NYS Senate joined the Assembly and Governor Cuomo in its willingness to consider approval of a Raise the Age that would allow NYS to be the 49th state in the nation to stop trying children between the ages of 16-18 as adults, one of NYAPRS’ top priorities this year. Stay tuned…

Senate GOP Willing To Include Funding In Raise The Age Deal
By Nick Niedzwiadek Politico March 20, 2017

Senate Republicans said today that raising the age of criminal responsibility will likely include a funding allocation, provided they are able to reach an agreement with Democratic leaders on issues like which crimes are eligible and the role of prosecutors in determining jurisdiction.

“What constitutes a significant offense — does it have to be a violent felony?” Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan said to reporters following a so-called “mother ship” budget meeting. “If you’re caught with a significant amount of drugs should that be considered something that’s exempt or not? Those are all detailed discussions.”

New York is one of two states that charge children as young as 16 years old as adults for nonviolent offenses.

Assembly Democrats and the Senate’s mainline Democratic conference want a broad list of offenses to be adjudicated in family court, with the most serious still going to criminal court.

“That’s the proper vehicle to actually have a rehabilitation program, move these young people away from recidivism,” said Sen. Jeff Klein, head of the Independent Democratic Conference.

Republicans are wary of endangering public safety and are reviewing the list of eligible offenses. But, Flanagan said, any prospective agreement would include “fairly significant funding.”

Republican Sen. Pat Gallivan, who heads the Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee, said including that money in a raise the age agreement ensures that counties and municipalities are not left on the hook for increased youth services.

“There will be some sort of phase in — It won’t happen all at once,” Gallivan said today.