The issue of juvenile justice is one of the most difficult that courts have to face. They have to decide how to punish individuals who are not held responsible for their actions in a wide variety of situations. In the state of New York, legislation has changed the operations of juvenile incarceration in recent years. As a result of the Raise-the-Age legislation in New York, New York, a certain class of older juvenile offenders will be able to take advantage of the juvenile justice system. This new approach to teenagers will hopefully reduce the abuses and horrific statistics associated with housing minors in the same population as adult offenders.
Juvenile incarceration is often viewed differently from adult incarceration. Juveniles do not have fully formed brains and are often not legally responsible for their actions. The justice system views rehabilitation and restorative justice as more important for juveniles. They are usually only incarcerated in serious situations. When they are incarcerated as adults, they are often subjected to greater violence and abuse than other inmates. The issue of prisoner’s rights is more acute with juvenile offenders than it is for adult offenders.
Raise-the-Age is a campaign in New York to raise the age at which juveniles are treated as adults for nonviolent crimes. Passed in 2017, the law provided for 16- and 17-year-olds to receive this protection. They are granted a separate legal status as an adolescent offender (AO).
These offenders will not be eligible for adult jails. They are tried in youth court and have more opportunities for alternatives to incarceration. These offenders will also have the ability for their records to be expunged in ten years. This approach to criminal justice will hopefully allow these juvenile offenders to avoid some of the pitfalls of adult prisons and get their lives back on track.
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