raise the age

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County lawmakers voted Tuesday to raise the age to buy tobacco products in the county from 19 to 21.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

Juveniles, age 16 and 17, will no longer be subjected to solitary confinement at the Onondaga County Justice Center. A recent lawsuit was settled between the county's sheriff's office and the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of six juvenile plaintiffs. The settlement includes the start of a new behavior management system at the justice center. 

NYCLU Senior Staff Attorney Molly Kovel said juveniles could spend weeks or months at a time in a place they referred to as the box.

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The state budget is now three days late and negotiations remain at an impasse. Now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is asking legislative leaders to extend last year's budget through the end of May while Democrats and Republicans continue working to settle their differences.

New York State Senate

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers missed the midnight budget deadline after they failed to solidify deals on state spending and taxation, as well as some unrelated items like permitting ride hailing services outside of New York City.

New York State Senate

State lawmakers are still trying to negotiate a deal, but are heading toward a late budget. The state Senate adjourned for the day Friday about 4 p.m., saying they would come back when there was something to vote on.

There are tentative deals on increasing tuition aid to college students, approving a bond act to protect water infrastructure and allowing ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft to operate outside of New York City.

Senate Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco (R-Syracuse) said the trouble is getting everyone to agree to all of the details at once.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Deals on some issues tied to the state budget are coming together as lawmakers rush to meet the New York state budget deadline.

Agreements on permitting ride-hailing services outside New York City and a measure to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as juveniles in the court and prison system, known as Raise the Age, were coming together Thursday.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders plan to meet all week, but no agreements are finalized yet on a state budget that’s due Friday.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick has joined other law enforcement officials across the state in recent days who are criticizing "raise the age" legislation that’s being debated in Albany.

Raise the age would take 16- and 17-year-olds accused of certain crimes out of the adult justice system and into family court. Advocates say dumping teens into the adult criminal justice system makes it much harder for them to get their life back on track.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The state budget is due in 3 1/2 weeks, but the biggest push at the Capitol is for a change that is not a spending item. It’s a measure to treat 16- and 17-year-olds as children, not adults, when they are charged with serious crimes.

Many leading legislators say, for them, the issue is personal.

Those who support raising the age when New Yorkers are treated as adults in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18 held a rally Tuesday at the Capitol. Many of the leading Democrats in the Legislature spoke, including Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie is pushing for a measure to stop treating 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in the state’s criminal justice system.

Heastie said the proposals would take 16- and 17-year-olds out of the adult criminal justice system and treat them as juveniles in family court. Heastie, the first African-American speaker, said this is a personal issue for him.

“It’s embarrassing,” Heastie said. “For me, as a speaker of color, it’s hurtful to me that New York and North Carolina are the only ones who still treat 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News File Photo

The fight to end the practice of putting teens in solitary confinement at the Onondaga County Justice Center continues, and it’s taking place on two fronts.

The New York Civil Liberties Union has filed a class-action lawsuit claiming the policy violates the Constitution, and harms young people. And groups like the Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse, or ACTS for short, is trying to raise awareness about the practice, with protests and discussions with county officials.

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Nearly one week after the legislative session was supposed to end, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have announced a deal on all major end of session issues, including renewal of New York City’s rent laws and a related property tax cap, as well as a new tax rebate program for property owners.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited a state prison Thursday to announce he’s hiring  more  guards, and to push for a change in how 16- and 17-year-olds are treated in the state prison system.

Cuomo has been pressing the issue known as Raise the Age since his State of the State message in January. It would no longer treat 16- and 17-year-olds accused of violent crimes as adults, and instead house them in special detention centers separate from the adult state prison system. 

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

The New York State legislature’s Black, Hispanic and Asians Caucus is reacting to events in Baltimore and is calling for swift action on a package of criminal justice reforms that have been stalled in the state Senate.

The caucus members say they’ve grown weary of  incidents where African Americans die after encounters with police.  Assemblyman Michaela Blake represents portions of the Bronx.

“Baltimore is happening in the Bronx, “ Blake said. “It can happen anywhere.”

Blake says the young people involved in the riots are not thugs or criminals.

Cuomo comments on recidivism against backdrop of prison closures

Jan 10, 2014
governor.ny.gov

In his State of the State speech this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo once again blasted New York's state prison system, describing what he called the "madness" of mass incarceration in New York.  

That tough language follows Cuomo's declaration in his State of the State address three years ago that prisons should no longer be used to boost economic development in rural upstate communities.

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New York is one of only two states in the country where all children 16 and older are treated as adults in the criminal justice system. This month the Raise the Age initiative kicked off a statewide campaign in upstate New York, renewing their effort to keep kids under 18 out of adult prisons.

Kyle Chambers was incarcerated in an adult prison when he was 16 years old, and spent his 17th birthday inside.