A Step Forward for New York

New York Times Editorial: Governor of NY Steps Back from State Policy of Treating Juvenile Offenders as Adults

In most states, the age at which offenders are prosecuted as adults is 18, the widely-assumed transition from adolescence to adulthood. However, the states of New York and South Carolina set that age at 16. The policies of these states defy research showing that young people are developmentally incapable of weighing risks the way adults do, which makes them prone to rash judgments that get them into trouble. Prosecution as an adult not only places young offenders under the harmful influence of adult offenders for the term of their incarceration, but it also condemns them to a life-long stigma as a convicted felon.

To begin to counteract this problem, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a new program to pardon people who were convicted of a nonviolent offense when they were 16 or 17. His goal is to give these individuals the opportunity to have more normal lives after incarceration. (Read the entire New York Times Editorial, December 2015)

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