New York Falls Behind

New York is considered to be one of the most progressive states. With its great influence in culture, fashion, and even the law it comes as a surprise that it will soon stand alone as the only state to prosecute sixteen year old offenders as adults.  The New York Penal Law marks the age of criminal responsibility at age sixteen, therefore automatically processing these young offenders in the adult court system and tagging them with a criminal record for life.  Research has found that by doing so, these juveniles who are often only committing minor crimes end up re-offending faster and at higher rates than similar juveniles processed through the Family Court System in other jurisdictions.  New York became tough on crime in the late 1970s and believed that by prosecuting juveniles as adults it would scare them out of committing crimes…but the evidence goes against the intended goals.  With a system that is failing both the community and the juveniles, isn’t it time for New York to admit defeat? In December 2009, past Governor David Paterson created a Task Force on Transforming Juvenile Justice.  He laid out several recommendations and strategies that will better serve the juvenile while he is making up for his wrongful actions. The recommendations include keeping kids closer to home, ensuring successful re-entry into society, and providing the necessary skills and tools for success.  These strategies will rehabilitate the juvenile and put him on the proper track, thereby protecting the community in the long run.  With the plan set forth by Paterson, it is now up to the legislators and policy groups to initiate and enforce these changes so we can all live in  a better and safer New York.