An editorial from The Journal News argues that raising the age of criminal responsibility is better not just for teens, but also for society in general.
Moving 16 and 17 year old to the Family Court system would mean better rehabilitative services — and therefore less likelihood that youth will commit another crime in the future. Long-term savings in prison costs and the economic profit from helping youth become productive contributors to society means that everyone benefits.
Youth housed in adult criminal facilities are also much more likely to experience sexual and physical abuse, commit suicide, and be exposed to more serious adult offenders. What’s more, differences in adolescent brain development show that impulse control and the ability to understand consequences aren’t fully present in youths until the age of 25.
“‘Young people’s treatment in the justice system should reflect this reality,’ says a Westchester Children’s Association summary of the ‘Raise The Age’ initiative.”
Read the full editorial here.