Over the next three years, New York will no longer treat 16- and 17-year-olds convicted of crimes as adults, instead moving them into juvenile detention facilities in most cases, Gannett Albany reports.
By January 2017, the state will treat 17-year-olds as juveniles, and then 18-year-olds in the same manner by 2018.
“You put a 16- and 17-year-old into a state prison, there is no way they’re not going to come out worse than they went in,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo who gave his full support to the recommendations made by the Commission on Youth Public Safety, which Cuomo appointed last year.
New York State has about 800 youth between the ages 16 and 17 in state and county prisons, mainly minorities. Also, youthful offender status would be available for those up to age 20, and in non-violent cases, youth could get their records sealed if they stay out of trouble for at least five years.
“We’re going to keep 16- and 17-year-olds out of prison; We’re going to create juvenile facilities and get them the training in a safe environment so we can actually help them turn around their lives,” Cuomo said.