Assemblymember Steck’s Bill to Provide County Juvenile Detention Programs Passes Assembly

Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that legislation he introduced to provide adequate county juvenile detention programs in New York State passed the Assembly (A 10756-A). The bill would enable not-for-profit corporations to access the services of the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) in order to finance and construct specialized detention facilities required by the recently enacted ‘Raise the Age’ legislation, which raised the age of juvenile jurisdiction to include 16- and 17-year-olds.

“Treating kids as adults in the criminal justice system has proven ineffective and actually increases the chances that they will end up back in jail later in life,” said Steck. “This bill gives local governments the ability to comply with our state’s laws and ensures they can provide a proper environment for the rehabilitation of youthful offenders.”

“This important piece of legislation is critical to ensuring we have the funding necessary for the implementation of Raise the Age at our juvenile detention facility,” added Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “Our 16- and 17-year-olds belong in separate facilities from hardened criminals with rehabilitative services instead of continuing the cycle of mass incarceration. With the passage of this bill, we are one step closer to making that a reality.”

Raise the Age, a program enacted last year, raises the age of criminal responsibility in New York from 16 to 18 years old. Previously, New York was one of only two states in the country to prosecute all 16- and 17-year-old defendants as adults in criminal court.

“Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties have for more than 20 years worked together successfully to provide critical juvenile detention services," said Barbara Mauro, president of the Capital District Youth Center, Inc., which operates the regional juvenile secure detention facility on behalf of the four counties. “Four counties working together to provide shared services should be eligible for the same benefits as counties working independently. This bill ensures that the four counties working together can benefit from the services of DASNY as the consortium considers needed improvements to the detention facility to comply with the Raise the Age law."