(15.05.2017): Raise the Age raises questions for local officials. Local criminal justice officials wonder about impact of law

The push to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 years old is a massive and multifaceted overhaul of the state’s criminal justice system, according to local criminal justice officials. The law, which was passed in the state budget, will affect nearly every agency involved in detaining, assessing, prosecuting and holding court for criminal suspects. It also establishes several new categories for young criminal offenders, each of which has different requirements for processing, detainment and court proceedings.

“This is a revamp of the entire criminal justice system as it relates to youth,” said county District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek. Proponents of raising the age say the shift will offer more rehabilitative services for young offenders, reduce recidivism and protect teens from potentially traumatic or violent encounters in adult prisons. New York State is currently one of just two states (the other being North Carolina) that prosecutes 16-year-olds in traditional criminal court.

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