New York is one of two states which allow juveniles to be tried as adults at age 16. The large majority of states do not allow prosecution as an adult until such time as the individual reaches the age of 18. It should be noted an individual of age 18 is considered an adult for purposes of voting.
Juveniles who are tried as adults and sentenced to an adult prison facility do not do well in these prisons. In most situations they end up being tutored by hardened criminals to become better criminals once they get out of jail. Teenagers in New York State who commit crimes should be dealt with under a juvenile justice system and not an adult legal system. In a juvenile justice system, they can receive rehabilitation services and training. They can also avoid obtaining a criminal record that will stay with them for the rest of their lives and have a negative impact on their obtaining a job.
Bill In the New York State Legislature Regarding Juvenile Justice
Judge Lippman, the Chief Judge of the State of New York, has proposed a new piece of legislation to the New York State Legislature which calls for the creation of a special court for 16 and 17 year olds charged with non-violent crimes in the State of New York. This proposal asks that courts have judges with special training concerning adolescent development and therapeutic approaches to juvenile criminal activity. It is suggested in this proposed legislation, if the case is resolved, no criminal charges should be filed against these adolescents. The fingerprints should be destroyed and the criminal records are to be sealed. Judge Lippman’s goal is to treat children as children. He doesn’t want them treated as adults with the stigma of a crime on their record for the rest of their lives.
Judge Lippman has the right idea. Putting juveniles in jail destroys their lives, is not cost effective, and is not the best route for an enlightened society to take in dealing with the crimes of a non-violent nature. I hope the New York State Legislature passes the new legislation.