The College of Law co-sponsored the Raise the Age Summit this week in conjunction with the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission and the New York State Unified Court System Office for Justice Initiatives.
Panelists and keynote speakers examined the impact of the Raise the Age legislation on the courts, youth, and community. Passed in 2017, the Raise the Age bill increased the age of criminal responsibility in the state of New York to 18 years of age. New York was previously one of only two states that automatically prosecuted 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. The focus of the summit centered around how this new legislation impacts key stakeholders, including district attorneys, defense counsels, judges, and attorneys for the child.
“These issues concern all of us, including legal professionals and the broader community. Assessing the law at this juncture is timely and requires that we ask important questions to inform our decision making to guide our actions on juvenile justice and juvenile offenders. We must know empirically and experientially if the law is reaching its objectives, and if it applies equitably across racial, ethnic, gender and other diverse backgrounds,” says Professor Paula Johnson, a member of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission who also moderated the first panel of the day, The Prosecutorial Perspective and Raise the Age Legislation: Where Do We Go from Here?
Thanks to Professor Johnson for organizing this learning opportunity for students, faculty, and guests, and to the over 30 speakers who offered their perspectives and input throughout the day.