Unfortunately, many teens are put into adult prisons if they are convicted of crimes in New York. New York has one of the lowest ages of criminal responsibility in the United States. In New York, 16 year olds are tried as adults for crimes, even those that are misdemeanors. Therefore, many New York teenagers, many of whom are not hardened criminals, end up in adult prisons with violent criminals.
In the past eight years, 23 states have passed laws that are intended to keep more teenagers in the juvenile justice system, so they won’t serve their time with adults or be sentenced as adults. However, that hasn’t happened in New York. Each year, almost 50,000 16 and 17 year olds are tried as adults in New York. In some cases, offenders as young as 13 can be tried as adults if violent crimes are committed. A recent study showed that only five percent of juvenile arrests are for violent crimes like assault, rape or murder. The other 95 percent are for non-violent crimes, but these teens still get placed in adult facilities.
Placing teens into adult prison facilities can be very, very dangerous. Studies have shown that juveniles who are in adult prisons are 36 times likelier to commit suicide. Although some lawmakers are trying to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York to 18, even if that occurs, some experts argue that the juvenile system in New York isn’t much better.
Therefore, it’s critical that your teen stay out of the criminal justice system in New York. If your teen serves time with hardened adult criminals, it could be very detrimental to your teen’s immediate health and safety, as well as his or her future.