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Raise the Age: State lawmakers tackle gaps in existing New York law

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  • Staff Report 

The New York State Legislature is preparing to introduce proposals aimed at refining the “Raise the Age” law, which was enacted in 2018 to redirect 16 and 17-year-olds away from adult courts and detention facilities towards family courts and juvenile detention. This move comes as part of the upcoming One-House Budget, with an emphasis on filling the law’s existing gaps by providing necessary details and resources.

Critics of the current law, including defense attorney and District Attorney candidate Lee Kindlon, have pointed out its inadequacies in offering courts the necessary guidelines and support. The incumbent District Attorney David Soares highlighted an uptick in youth crime attributed to the law’s implementation, underscoring the urgent need for adjustments.

Legislators across the political spectrum acknowledge the need for reform. While some Republicans suggest a rollback, Democrats advocate for increased funding to bolster the support infrastructure essential for the law’s success. Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget proposes an additional $250 million for resources, with the legislature considering block grants to expedite the allocation to counties. This consensus signals a bipartisan effort to refine and effectively implement the “Raise the Age” law.