Next Steps for New York’s “Raise the Age” MovementOct 15, 2020
Two years ago this month, New York City moved all 16- and 17-year-olds off the Rikers Island prison complex, for good. But young adults ages 18 through 20 stayed behind in the city’s notorious lockup – a place so reviled by human rights advocates that Britain’s Guardian newspaper once declared Rikers a “byword for prison brutality.”
Teens who by law still can’t drink or buy cigarettes in New York state still have their cases heard in the adult court system and can find themselves circulating among older, more hardened inmates on the violent, slug-shaped, 400-acre spit on the East River.
Those circumstances have led two leading supporters of the Raise the Age reform law, grantee partners Children’s Defense Fund NY and Youth Represent, to set their sights on reforming justice for “emerging adults” – 18- to 25-year-olds.