Assemblymember Phil Steck (D-Colonie) announced that legislation he authored to ensure counties provide appropriate juvenile detention programs has been signed into law (Ch. 173 of 2018). The bill allows not-for-profit corporations, such as the one that operates the regional youth detention center near Albany Airport, to access funding through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) to finance and construct specialized detention facilities for juvenile offenders. The recently enacted Raise the Age legislation increases the age of juvenile jurisdiction to ensure 16- and 17-year-olds are not automatically treated as adults in the criminal justice system.
New York was one of the last states in the country to enact this commonsense legislation that gives young people arrested for nonviolent offenses a chance to turn their lives around, said Assemblymember Steck. Its simply inhumane to suggest that a child as young as 16 should be thrown in a cell alongside hardened adult criminals. This law will enable us to provide a safer environment to rehabilitate kids before they become career criminals.
Before Raise the Age was enacted, New York prosecuted all 16- and 17-year-old defendants as adults in criminal court, despite the fact that young people in the adult criminal justice system are 34 percent more likely to be re-arrested than those in the juvenile justice system.
Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady counties joined together in a not-for-profit corporation to create a regional juvenile detention facility that provides much-needed services in a cost-effective manner, added Steck. Our citizens have long been advocating for regionalization projects like this. This legislation will ensure the success of this regionalization effort and ensure that Capital District juvenile justice programs can access the same resources as others across the state and fully comply with the Raise the Age law.