The state conference of the NAACP this past weekend in Syracuse passed a resolution to raise the age of criminal wrongdoing, the latest in a widening campaign to increase the age from 16 to 18.
The “Raise the Age” campaign was unveiled earlier this month and seeks to increase the age to 18 when youth are charged as an adult.
The group, which includes community groups and district attorneys, said the change would reduce recidivism because it would keep youth out of jail with the adult population.
“The school to prison pipeline is alive and well in New York and raising the age is the first step in addressing this severe injustice,” said Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference, said in a statement.
“The NAACP New York State Conference will educate, mobilize, and call to action its 56 adult units and Youth and College Chapters from Brooklyn to Buffalo, Syracuse to Suffolk County, Albany to Amityville, Niagara Falls to Nyack and all points in between. This will be one of our highest priorities.”
New York and North Carolina are the only states where children 16 and older are automatically treated as adults in the criminal justice system, the group said.