NY Law Now Takes 17-Year-Olds Out Of Adult Criminal System


New York is taking most 17-year-olds with offenses out of the adult criminal justice system.

The change is effective this month under the second part of 2017 legislation that raised New York’s age of criminal responsibility to 18. The first part of the law addressing most 16-year-olds went into effect last year.

New York had been among the last states that automatically prosecuted 16- and 17-year-olds as adults.

Supporters say incarcerating youth alongside adults is connected with higher suicide rates and increased recidivism. This year’s state budget includes $200 million in funding for programs such as diversion services.

Under the legislation, such young people charged with misdemeanors would have their cases tried in family court proceedings.

Those charged with violent felonies would remain in criminal court under some circumstances.



  1. I am just left wondering what the logic was before and after. There are 3 reasons given for incarcerating a criminal. The first two are refuted by research.

    1 – Punish the criminal. He/she broke the law in a serious way. This is the revenge of the government/public.

    Argument is – who is the deity who establishes that? How can anyone know for certain what is the appropriate punishment? Just look at how states and localities differ about what sentences should be.

    2 – Rehabilitate the criminal. Does incarceration change the criminal into a law abiding citizen. Do prisoners upon release become model citizens that follow the law? The rates of recidivism prove that this is not only not universal, but an alarmingly small minority.

    3 – Keep the criminal off the streets for public protection. So far, this is the only one that is supported by empirical study. It hardly deters others from committing similar crimes. It fails to explain the use of prisons for white collar crimes, but it does accomplish what that goal lays out for it.

    If these offending youth were successfully rehabilitated while in the slammer, there would be something to gain. Otherwise, I don’t understand neither the reason to prosecute them as adults or why not to do so. I wonder what the government’s thinking was on this.