Assemblyman John McGowan (R,C-Rockland) attended a press conference today alongside his colleagues in the Assembly Minority as well as many district attorneys from across the state to advocate for their public safety bill, ‘Raise the Age,’ which the 2018 law changed the age from 16 to 18 at which an individual can be prosecuted as an adult. Currently, 16- and 17-year-olds who commit serious felonies can escape criminal liability and only be summoned to family court–this means that if the individuals offend again after turning 18, their previous record will not be revealed, and the new crime will be treated as a first offense. Statistics show only 9% (257 of 3,303) of 16-and 17-year-old felony offenders received a felony conviction in 2021, meaning those arrested for homicide, sex offenses, firearms/dangerous weapon offenses, robbery, burglary or making a terroristic threat were excused by family court proceedings.
“Raise the Age ultimately gave power to dangerous offenders and gangs that used troubled youth to carry out serious crimes because they know teenagers will not be tried as adults in court. Teaching the public and younger generations that there will not be any valid consequences is not the rule of law we should not continue to allow. If a 16-or a 17-year-old is arrested for a serious offense such as homicide or possession of a dangerous weapon, they should be tried in court, no differently than an 18 year old would be. Raise the Age has done more harm than good, and the statistics are there to prove it. Without public safety and a structured criminal justice system, we do not have residents in our great state feeling safe in their own homes,” said McGowan.