Governor Andrew Cuomo today signed an executive order requiring all minors to be housed in juvenile facilities, rather than adult prisons. New York and North Carolina are the only two states to automatically prosecute 16 and 17-year-olds as adults.
“This is a welcome first step in bringing the juvenile justice system in New York in line with international human rights standards,” said Jamira Burley, senior campaigner with Amnesty International USA. “Under international law, anyone under the age of 18 is a child, and should be treated as such at every point in our criminal justice system. Removing children from the violent and harmful environment of adult prisons is progress, but the state must pass legislation to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 in order to achieve meaningful and lasting reform in New York.
Other states should use this as an opportunity to revisit their own policies on juvenile justice.”