NYC Must Improve Juvenile Justice Conditions

Organizers from Raise the Age and other groups at City Hall

We join advocates to urge New York City to ensure safe practices for children in the juvenile justice system.

Did you know that right now, in New York City, there are 16- and 17-year-old youth serving their sentences in Rikers Jail?

This week, Children’s Rights and other advocacy organizations took to the steps of City Hall urging City officials to create an adequate plan to remove youth 17 and under from Rikers Island. In March, Children’s Rights joined over 70 organizations in sending a letter to NYC Mayor de Blasio opposing the use of existing corrections staff who are already hired and trained to supervise adults, like those currently working at Rikers.

Instead of recycling failed methods that have proven ineffective, City officials should provide training, programs, and services that actually improve outcomes for youth.

Passed last year, new “Raise the Age” legislation requires the City to remove youth 17 and under from Rikers by October 2018. But advocates worry that without the right planning, the same harsh conditions these youth suffer at Rikers will simply be replicated in existing juvenile detention facilities. These policies could affect children as young as 10 years of age who are already involved in the juvenile justice system.

“We need to move from a culture of violence and punishment to rehabilitation and treatment. To do so we must implement Raise the Age and treat kids as kids,” explains Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights.