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Youth justice panel makes reform proposal

Jan 20, 2015 6:21 am
Casey Seiler is reporting at Capitol Confidential Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Commission on Youth, Public Safety and Justice released its 176-page report Mon., Jan. 19. The commission was set up to examine the state's policy of processing 16- and 17-year-olds in the criminal system. The report noted that youthful offenders are twice as likely as other inmates to be abused by staff or other prisoners; five times more likely to be sexually assaulted; and more likely to commit suicide. They are also 25 percent more likely to reoffend. The commission recommended raising the age of juvenile jurisdiction in two steps: From 16 to 17 at the beginning of 2017, and to 18 at the beginning of 2018. The age when juvenile jurisdiction would begin would shift from age 7 to 12, although the age at which murder could be dealt with in the juvenile courts would remain 10. Offenders younger than 18 would be kept out of adult prisons or jails, and would be incarcerated in special facilities of fewer than 25 beds where they could serve out their sentence up to age 21. Among its other recommendations, the report calls for the creation of new youth courts to deal with criminal cases involving offenders younger than 18. Cuomo accepted the findings of the panel as a whole, and said he would move to transform the recommendations into legislation. Read the full story at Capitol Confidential, a Times Union blog.