Youth Represent Works to Raise the Age

New York has taken huge steps towards raising the age of criminal responsibility, and Youth Represent is proud to be a part of this important movement to protect youth and promote public safety.

Earlier this year, the Governor released his proposal to raise the age, based the recommendations of his Commission on Youth, Justice, and Public Safety.  YR Board Chair Joel Copperman served on the Commission.  YR also wanted the Commission to understand the significance and limitations of youthful offender adjudications, and so we connected them with  two young people we prepared to testify in front of the Commission: an individual who has obtained a youthful offender adjudication as well as one who did not and who must live the rest of her life with a felony on her record. We are pleased that the Governor’s proposal would expand youthful offender eligibility to all youth under age 21 and increase confidentiality protections while youths’ cases are pending. For years, Youth Represent has advocated for these important reforms and we urge the Legislature to pass them as part of a comprehensive raise the age package.

Last week, Youth Represent staff traveled to Albany with dozens of participants from one of our partner organizations, Year Up, for a Lobby Day, along with other advocacy organizations.  Young people had the unique opportunity to meet with their elected officials and policy aides, and, relying on their own experience and the advocacy training we had conducted, were able to speak to lawmakers about why our state must raise the age.  Among the staff present was Community Advocate Charles Nunez, who was also featured in a video created by the Governor’s office in support of the  Raise the Age campaign.

  Executive Director Laurie Parise is among the panelists at “A Bold Step for New York’s Children: A Symposium for Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility.”

Executive Director Laurie Parise is among the panelists at “A Bold Step for New York’s Children: A Symposium for Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility.”

Executive Director Laurie Parise is among the panelists at “A Bold Step for New York’s Children: A Symposium for Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility.”

On March 16, Executive Director Laurie Parise spoke at “A Bold Step for New York’s Children: A Symposium for Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility,” a panel hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund and New York Law School.  The panel also featured keynote speaker Bryan Stevenson of the Equal Justice Initiative.

We are excited with the progress made in 2015, but we are also prepared for the work ahead.  While there is much support among lawmakers and the public, we still need legislators in Albany to pass the Governor’s bill to raise the age.  If you haven’t done so already, please contact your elected officials and tell them to raise the age now!