Removes 16-year-olds who committed criminal acts as of October 1st from the adult Criminal Justice system and prohibits 16- and 17-year-olds from being housed at Rikers Island
Today marks an important milestone in our efforts at criminal justice reform with the continued implementation of Raise The Age and the relocation of all 16- and 17-year-olds off of Rikers Island.
As the Assembly Member who represented both Kalief Browder and his mother Venida, we are indebted to their family for having to endure the injustice of youth being in adult facilities, which further sparked this necessary policy change.
Today is a day where we can say that policy went from a thought on paper to future lives being changed for the better. We thank Assembly Member Joe Lentol, Speaker Carl Heastie and countless other community and elected leaders for enacting this change. It is long overdue that all youth offenders be tried in family court and placed into age-appropriate services where they will have access to crucial education, mentorship, and counseling programs.
While today’s reforms are a step in the right direction for criminal justice reform, our work is far from over. We must continue to fight for banning the use of commercial bail, focus on alternative sentencing and open discovery to create a fair judicial process, and expand community services for those in and out of the system. We cannot rest until both justice and equity become the standard for all of us, not just some.