Raise the Age

Raise the Age (S.5642A/A.7642)

The New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NYSCASA) supports this legislation, which would raise the age for prosecution of certain crimes. This would raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. This bill would treat 16 and 17-year-olds, charged with a crime, in the same manner that 15-year-olds are treated under current law.

Scientists have found that the frontal lobes of the brain which control actions such as a working memory, planning and impulse control are among the last areas to mature. The Frontal lobes may not be developed until halfway through the third decade of life.[1]

With this knowledge, it is important to protect our youth and make sure they are tried as youth and placed in youth facilities, if ordered. Placing youth offenders in adult prisons can have damaging physical, emotional and mental effects. It also puts them at risk of being sexually assaulted. In addition, there is a growing body of research which shows that placing youth in adult prisons and/or institutions accentuates criminal behavior after release. [2]

If you would like to learn more about this bill, please click here.

[1] Sowell ER, Thompson PM, Holmes CJ, et al. In vivo evidence for post-adolescent brain maturation in frontal and striatal regions. Nature Neurosci. 1999;2:859–61. [PubMed]

[2] For example, the scholarly journal Law and Policy,Volume 18, No. 1, published in Spring, 1996, lists a half-dozen articles which show that rates of recidivism are higher for juveniles who are sent to serve their whole or parts of their sentences in the adult system

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