Everything You Need To Know About New York’s Controversial ‘Raise the Age’ Bill

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Thanks to the persistence of lawmakers and juvenile justice advocates, over a decade of unsuccessful attempts, has to lead to the ‘Raise the Age’ bill finally being signed into law. Here’s everything you need to know.

On Monday, Governor Cuomo officially signed a bill into effect that prevents 16 and 17-year-olds from automatically being charged with all crimes as adults in New York. The age of criminal responsibility will be raised to 17 years old by October 2018, and 18 years old by October 2019.

The process of getting the bill signed has been an ongoing battle for lawmakers and juvenile justice advocates for over 10 years as only New York and North Carolina prosecuted 16 and 17-year-olds as adults. New York will now divert these youth offenders to family and youth courts and detain them in juvenile facilities.

Thanks to the new bill the records of youthful offenders would be sealed and records of the formerly incarcerated, going back 10 years, will be sealed retroactively assuming they have maintained a clean criminal record over that time. This far-reaching change will affect around 12,000 New Yorkers.

The move to push the bills through has been hailed by many as a win for civil rights; in New York, over 70 percent of underage arrests are of Black or Latino children.

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